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Plucking machines cut tea estate jobs

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Tea pluckers in Thyolo have expressed concern over increased use of tea plucking machines by estates in the districts which, they say, are shrinking job opportunities for people in the district.

The labourers interviewed at Mainga Tea Estate in the district are afraid that the machines will bring redundancy to the estates as one machine is capable of performing work done by over 20 people.

Group village headman Mulenga of Traditional Authority Mphuka in Thyolo said poverty levels in the area could increase if the companies continue with plans to employ the machines instead of people.

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“We depend on the estates for our livelihood,” said Mulenga

However, Mainga Tea Estate group manager, Joe Palani, assured communities that no one will lose their job at the estate as the machines are only operating on an experimental basis.

“And these machines can only operate on flat ground so we will continue to depend on people for the plucking and other jobs,” said Palani.

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