Centre of Tea in Kenya

Eastern Produce traces its origins back to 19th Century Sri Lanka. In 1948 the company decided to expand into East Africa where several Agency Houses with Indian tea interests were already taking cautious steps towards diversification. Land was acquired in Nandi in 1948, now the centre of tea growing in Kenya, and tea production was started there in 1957.


In 1955 Eastern Produce turned their attention to what was then called Nyasaland, Malawi today, acquiring Dickson Anderson in Blantyre, the principal Managing Agency house there. This was the precursor to major later investments, especially in tea estates under Dickson Anderson management. The history of tea in Malawi stretches back to 1886 when seeds were taken from the Botanical Garden in Edinburgh to the Church of Scotland Mission in Blantyre and planted in the garden there. One bush, the ancestor of the original tea plantation in Mulanje, still grows at the Mission in Blantyre today.

Camellia Plc

In 1976 Walter Duncan & Goodricke Ltd, originally founded in India with tea agency interests, and a subsidiary of Lawrie Group Plc, acquired an initial, minority stake in Eastern Produce having also acquired in 1972 a significant shareholding in Kakuzi Ltd, a Kenyan company with mixed agricultural interests. Camellia Plc had a substantial shareholding in Lawrie Group Plc and acquired the remaining shares in 1999 bringing the Lawrie Group into Camellia as a wholly owned subsidiary and Lawrie Group's interests in Eastern Produce.