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Kenya's trade volume hits Sh188b in October as coffee sales dipWednesday, January 06, 2016 > 10:48:21
There is no respite for coffee farmers in the country as auction prices continued on a downward trend, eating into Kenya’s export earnings.
Fresh data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), in its monthly economic indicators, shows the quantity of coffee auctioned at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange has declined from 3,286 metric tonnes in August 2015 to a modest 2,643 metric tonnes in September 2015.
What is worse is that the average auction price decreased from Sh371.2 per kilogramme to Sh364.0 per kilogramme over the same period, according to the data published Wednesday.
This is despite the country’s volume of trade in the international scene going up from Sh180.8 billion in August 2015 to Sh188.7 billion in September 2015. The total value of exports fell to Sh49.9 billion.
The value of Kenya’s imports expanded from Sh125.7 billion in August 2015 to Sh138.7 billion in September 2015. “Domestic exports by Broad Economic Category (BEC) indicated food and beverages are the main export category in September, accounting for 48.2 per cent of exports, while the value of non-food industrial supplies and consumer goods not elsewhere specified registered 23.7 and 25.1 per cent shares, respectively,” the report adds.
The imports indicate industrial (non-food) supplies was the main import category in September, accounting for 36.2 per cent, while the values of fuel and lubricants, machinery and other capital equipment and transport equipment registered shares of 11.6, 19.7 and 15.6 per cent respectively.
Food and beverage recorded a share of 7.5 per cent, while consumer goods not elsewhere specified recorded a share of 8.2 per cent.
The energy sector registered mixed results after the total electricity generation grew by 2.5 per cent to 821.47 million KWh in October 2015 but was not supported by domestic consumption which dropped from 754.68 million KWh in September to 695.28 million KWh recorded in October.
On the quantity of coffee exported, the KNBS report indicates coffee output decreased from 3,991.1 MT in August 2015 to 3,404.9 MT in September 2015, while its value decreased from Sh1.7 billion to Sh1.6 billion over the same period, the report indicates.
A recent insider report further notes that cartels running the sector had siphoned at least Sh28 billion from farmers in the past seven years in an elaborate price manipulation scam.
The audit revealed that farmers have been losing an average of Sh3 billion a year through a price manipulation syndicate at the NCE, where a coffee auction is held every Tuesday.
The trouble in the coffee sector continued to contrast sharply with what is happening in the tea industry, which is less controlled by cartels and has enjoyed better management.
The KNBS data shows the quantity of processed tea rose from 36,483.6 MT in September 2015 to 41,343.2 MT in October 2015.
On its part, the price of processed tea increased from Sh326.69 to Sh333.37 per kilogramme over the same period.
The quantity of tea exported increased to 33,528.1 MT in September 2015, while its value rose from Sh9.4 billion to Sh11.4 billion over the same period, it adds.
According to the report, the amount of cane deliveries increased from 585.7 thousand tonnes in August 2015 to 593.7 thousand tonnes in September 2015.
This is a pointer to better times ahead for the ailing sugar sector at a time when it is recovering from sugar-cane shortages and incessant fights between millers over sugar poaching. It may also be sweet news to prospective buyers of the five sugar companies that have lined up to buy the mills.
The Privatisation Commission early this month invited bids for the purchase of stakes in Nzoia, South Nyanza Sugar Company in Migori County, Chemelil Sugar, Muhoroni and Miwani Sugar Company. Muhoroni and Miwani.
The October 2015 report also shows that the average price for dry maize fell marginally from Sh34.78 per kilogramme in August 2015 to Sh34.10 per kilogramme recorded in September 2015.