Malawi tea earnings shrink

Malawi’s earning from agriculture continues to perform lowly with forex earnings from tea going down by US$2 million.

The Tea Association of Malawi Limited says the crop, which is the second foreign exchange earner after tobacco has managed make sales of US$17.1 million (K3 billion) down from US$19.6 million (K3.6 billion) as of August 2011.

The revenue  made from 10.7 million kilogrammes of tea was sold at an average price of US$1.59 per kilo compared to US$1.57 per kilo in 2010.

Overall tea production in the review period was 35 million kilos a 9 percent drop from 38.7 million kilos harvested in 2010.

The association’s Chief Executive Clement Thindwa said the drop in revenue was due to unfavourable weather conditions.

“This led to shortfall in production which has resulted in lower export revenues in the review period. But we expect good returns this year because the projected prospects on production and prices is positive,” said Thindwa.

Kenya which produces more tea in Africa had a production reduction of 18 percent between January and May this year and Malawi producers are keen to take advantage of the situation.

Malawi is regarded as the pioneer of tea-growing in Africa.

Currently Malawian tea is grown in the southern districts of Thyolo and Mulanje and the northern lakeshore district of Nkhatabay.

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