Kenya Tea Development Agency

The Kenya Tea Development Agency is an initiative supporting smallholder tea farmers. It is a private company owned by 600,000 smallholders across Kenya.

Mission and Purpose

The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a smallholder tea initiative. Prior to this, tea laborers were poorly paid and the Kenyan tea market was dominated by multinational corporations with Kenyan producers having little control or participation.

Kenyan tea now commands a price premium compared to international competitors; it constitutes a major part of foreign exchange earnings; and 70% of the export value of tea is distributed to smallholders at the community level [1].

Origins and Development

Over the past 60 years, Kenya’s tea industry has transformed from large estates to smallholder farms. Smallholders pooled their resources through strong federated bodies to build economies of scale and succeed in competitive markets. They organised to analyse the value-chain; identified areas of perceived weakness; and addressed and rebranded their product in response. They were aided by a combination of new technology platforms, such as mobile money, and a supportive political environment—a nationalist government that halted the expansion of larger multinational players, creating space for the KDTA.

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

KDTA is exclusively owned by 600,000 smallholder tea farmers from Kenya's tea growing counties [2].

Specializations, Methods and Tools

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Major Projects and Events

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Analysis and Lessons Learned

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See Also


[1] Koh, H., King, S., Irfan, A., Agarwal, R., Dayal, A. and Brown, A. (n.d.) Shaping Inclusive Market. FSG. Available at: (Accessed 10 August 2020)

[2] Kenyan Tea Development Agency Limited (2020). About Us. Available at: (Accessed 10 August 2020).

External Links


The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a research project by the Institute of Development Studies, 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

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