EATTA’s Integrated Tea Trading System (iTTS) which automated the manual trade processes along the tea value chain for traders using the Mombasa Tea Auction has improved efficiency and transparency resulting to reduced costs and time of trading for tea traders, evaluations show. The system is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through TradeMark Africa.
ITTS covers the dispatch of made tea from the factory, receiving of the tea by the Warehouse, cataloguing and offering the tea for sale by the Broker, buying of the tea and paying for it by the buyer and the finally collecting the bought tea from the warehouse. According to a recent evaluation, overall costs incurred by tea traders who are producers, brokers and buyers/exporters has reduced from US$4,533 before iTTS) in 2017 to US$1,889 after iTTS in 2021, a reduction of 58% against a target of 15%.
Specifically, the costs that have been eliminated are transactional and logistical and includes key items such as printing costs, travel time and costs, refreshment etc. Additionally, the tea trade cycle time has reduced by 10 days, from 38 days in 2017 to 28 days in 2021.
iTTS has remedied limitations in the old manual set-up, such as the lack of in-depth consolidated auction statistics, and limitation on the scale up of the mandatory physical presence in the auction house of participants in the auction. Members can now access real-time information for the entire tea trade cycle. A member can access post-sale auction report and invoices immediately after a catalogue has concluded. This is an improvement over the previous system where buyers needed to wait until the brokers prepare a market report that would be available after the whole auction is concluded
The East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA) is a voluntary organisation bringing together tea producers, buyers (exporters), brokers, tea packers, and warehouses and associate members, all working to promote the best interests of the tea trade in East Africa.
Improved efficiency has reduced overall costs incurred by EATTA affiliated tea traders (producers, brokers and buyers/exporters) from US$4,533 before automation (iTTS) in 2017 to US$1,889 after automation (iTTS) in 2021; A 58% reduction (against a target of 15%). Notably, the buyer/exporter recorded the highest reduction in costs by 66%.
iTTS contributes green trade, as the elimination of manual processes has reduced paperwork that was related to invoicing, printing of reports and other documentation. Further, information on tea trade cycle is now accessible in real-time and the ease of doing business tangible with 88% of interviewed traders indicated that iTTS has increased transparency, satisfaction, accountability and convenience in the tea trading cycle.