Kenya-China bolster ties with tea pact

Kenya-China bolster ties with tea pact
Kenya-China bolster ties with tea pact

Africa-Press – Kenya. Kenya and China have sealed a pact to exchange ideas on tea processing as a step towards actualising the principle by Beijing of building a community of shared future with Nairobi.

A Kenyan company from Meru and a Chinese firm trading as Zonken Agriculture and Food Ltd reached a deal to join forces and make a blend of Kenya and Chinese tea for the export market.

The agreement between Zonken and Njeru Tea Factory was among the highlights of the ninth International Cultural Festival held in Nairobi, hosted by the National Museums of Kenya.

The event was marked by displays of various cultures with exhibitions from China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Japan and many others.

In the plan, Kenya and Chinese tea masters will work together to arrive at a blend of tea that is acceptable in not only the Chinese market but in other markets they are targeting.

Henry Njeru, the managing director of the Kenyan firm, said, “It is a collaboration. The Chinese tea culture is older so there is a lot of technology transfer. The Chinese market has had green tea, while ours has black tea. With the auction not returning much to farmers, we have sought to diversify markets for the Kenyan tea,”

“We want to mix the two…we will export to China and other parts of the world. This is also a chance for technological exchange between the two countries…Kenya and China tea masters will work together to improve Kenya tea,” Kenya-Chinese Chamber of Commerce boss William Zhuo said.

Zonken Food and Agriculture Ltd was represented at the signing by its managing director Feng Xingjun.

China’s tea processing techniques date over 1,000 years, while that of Kenya is about 100 years, hence the need for the exchanges to better the Kenyan tea’s prospects in the market.

Technocrats behind the deal say Chinese people are largely shifting their preference to black tea, so the processors are set to blend the Kenyan black tea and the Chinese green tea.

Cultural Counselor Tang Jianjun of the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi hailed the agreement as falling squarely in the principle of Kenya and China building a community of shared future.

He said tea symbolizes cultural diversity, friendship, harmony and peace, which the two countries both champion.

“China has paid attention to introducing tea culture around the world. This year Tea for Harmony has been marked in 50 countries, which Kenya is one,” Counselor Tang said.

He added, “Tea not only links to health of body but also the health of our soul.”

In 2022, traditional tea processing techniques in China were included in the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Tang said that in processing and taking tea together, people engage good time and increase being friends.

He said the agreement fits the call by Chinese President Xi Jinping that nations acknowledge the essence of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

China and Kenya are jointly building this community. Harmony is one of those goals of this community.

“How does tea represent peace? When conflicts rise, sit together and have a cup of tea…after taking tea, the conflict is over,” Tang said.

Master Xie Yongzhong, the representative inheritor of Qimen black tea processing techniques – which is listed as China National Intangible Cultural Heritage, flew to Kenya to explain the unique and time-honored Qimen black tea processing techniques.

He also served the visiting guests a cup of Qimen black tea at the tent where the Chinese embassy marked this year’s “Tea for Harmony: Yaji Cultural Salon”.

Yongzhong’s company was the one that forged a partnership with Kenya local tea corporation to bring more Kenyan tea to China and the rest of the world.

Having originated in China, tea is not only a vehicle for the Chinese belief in the harmony between human and nature but also an important bond connecting China and the rest of the world.

The event was graced by the chairman of the National Museums of Kenya Edwin Abonyo and representatives of the Department of Culture.

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