Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has announced that Kenya and Pakistan are upscaling their bilateral trade in the agricultural sector.

Linturi, who is on official visit to Pakistan, says his Agriculture Ministry is seeking to enhance the existing trade relations between Kenya and Pakistan, especially in the tea sector.

The CS was speaking in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad after bilateral talks with Pakistan Federal Minister of Food Security and Research, Chaudhary Tariq Bashir Cheema.

He said Kenya will also seek knowledge transfer from Pakistan, especially in implementing modern farming technology like drip irrigation to improve Kenya’s food security.

Pakistan, which is largely an Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) country has a population of 220,000 million people but is food secure owing to her reliance on irrigation farming.

Pakistan is Kenya’s largest trade partner in the tea sector and imports 40 per cent of Kenyan tea.

The tea industry is one of Kenya’s leading foreign exchange earners and accounts for 26 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings and 2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This comes a day after the CS attended the Pakistan Tea Association annual gala event in Karachi, where he rooted for value addition on Kenyan tea to make it more competitive.

Linturi revealed that his ministry would establish Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Mombasa to replace Export Promotion Zones (EPZ) to boost value addition to exported Kenyan tea.

He was flanked on the trip by Kenyan Ambassador to Pakistan Nyambura Kamau, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Chairman David Ichoho, KTDA CEO Wilson Muthaura among others.