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Dutch buyers eye Malawi tea

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A group of seven Dutch business people are currently in the country in order to evaluate Malawian teas for the Dutch market.

The team on Tuesday attended the Malawi Tea Auction Number 25 at the Limbe Tea Auction and they comprise tea importers, tea shop owners, health consultants and commercial bank representatives.

Team Leader Wouter Verelst said they were very impressed with the conduct and sophistication of the Malawi tea auction as one does not physically see the actual teas being sold and bought.

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Verelst said Malawi has the potential to export most of its tea.

“There is a potential to export Malawi’s orthodox and specialty tea to the rest of the world as the local tea has already started penetrating through other countries,” he said.

He further said they envisage an increase in Malawi tea exports to Belgium and other European markets.

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Verelst said the visit to Malawi will be made annual or biannual in order to enhance tea exports to Europe.

Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) Chief Executive Officer Clement Thindwa said the composition of the team shows how sophisticated the advanced world tea market is.

“The health consultant is meant to look at the proven health elements of tea such as antioxidants, antibacterial, antiviral, antiallergenic,

ageing suppression, benefits; while the importer will facilitate the import of tea into Belgium in bulk; the shop owners will then dispense to the Dutch consumers.

“The bankers will provide finance for the transactions; and perhaps most interestingly are tea schools for facilitating understanding of tea and how to brew it,” Thindwa said.

He said tea prices at the auction have picked up this year mostly as a result of the drought in Kenya which has seen its tea production drop by almost 41 million kilogrammes which is almost equivalent to Malawi’s entire annual production.

Kenya produces close to 500 million kilogrammes in a normal year.

“The Tuesday June 20, 2017, auction was an historic one as it saw the first Green tea on the market even though buyers were rather shy over it. Malawi mostly produces black or C.T.C tea, but I am hopeful that eventually buyers will investigate markets and help Green tea take up on the Limbe Tea Auction”, Thindwa said.

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