Malawi's 2012 tea prospects increase

The tea industry in Malawi is optimistic there will be better harvests and earnings next year due to the good rains that have started well.

This has been disclosed by Tea Association of Malawi Limited (Taml) Chairman Atu Kalinga.

The good prospects are coming at a time when the country is struggling to boost more forex earnings from its agricultural produce which forms a large chunk of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Tea picking at a Thyolo estate

Kalinga said 39.3 million kilogrammes of tea was produce in October 2011 a drop from 45 million kilos in October 2010.

He said the tea sector has also seen tremendous improvements in quality which has resulted in better prices being offered at auction.

Prices improved between January and November this year as they averaged prices of US$1.60 per kilogramme.

Tea is the second foreign exchange earner for the country and last year’s exports revenue were at US$65.8 million.

Meanwhile, Tea Brokers Central Africa, which manages the country’s tea auctions, says the benchmark price of tea in fell 6.3 percent at a sale on Tuesday.

The top grade of tea, known as pekoe fannings, fetched $2.40 a kilogram (2.2 pounds) in the commercial capital, Blantyre, down from $2.56 a week earlier, Tea Brokers said according to Bloomberg report quoting Tea Brokers.

Sales of the leaf fetched $76,143 from 43,520 kilograms, compared with $142,139 from 88,080 kilograms at the previous sale on November. 29.

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