The sanctions by the West on Russia may soon start to sting, not in Russia, but rather in the tea farms of Kenya.
Russia is one of our main 5 importers of tea, and because of the sanctions on trading with the country, we can’t make deliveries.
East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) has revealed that Danish shipping giant Maersk and CMA CGM of France, communicated to Kenya’s exporters that they are suspending supplies to and from Russia, both on sea and land.
On top of tea, Russia imports flowers, coffee and fruits from Kenya, and these too cannot be shipped following Putin’s war on Ukraine. In total, Kenya exports about Sh10 billion worth of products to Russia.
The West have imposed sanctions on Russia, successfully confining its economy from the rest of the world. This they trust will defund Putin’s war effort.
Russia has been removed the SWIFT network, a framework which banks use to speak with one another on international payments. This implies that regardless of whether products some way or another arrived in Russia, getting payments would be truly challenging.
“Even if you are lucky to get tea to Russia because we don’t know whether tea falls under foodstuff or beverage, how would you get payment when sanctions are there that they cannot remit money from that country?” EATTA managing director Edward Mudibo told Business Daily.
The vast majority of the produce from Kenya was imported through Amsterdam, prior to being stacked on trucks to the Eastern Europe country. That entangles matters much more since Western Europe has totally cut trade with Russia.
As per The Kenya Flower Council, it is far-fetched that the situation will improve soon.
“They have stifled investments and foreign exchange in Russia. It’s unlikely we will do business with Russia in the nearest future until this is sorted out once and for all because our business is governed using the dollar as the major currency and then the euro,” KFC chief executive Clement Tulezi said.