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Rains bring hope to Malawi tea industry

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Substantial rains that fell in the Shire highland districts of Thyolo and Mulanje last week have brought relief and hope to Malawi’s tea industry.

The drought of 2015 saw some tea estates and processors suspending production due low availability of tea leaf for processing.

An international tea broking firm, Van Rees, says however there are now positive indications in the tea estates following widespread rainfall that covered the entire districts of Thyolo and Mulanje.

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In its weekly tea report for the week ending February 5, 2016, Van Rees says the two districts received good rains last week after the dry spell in the months of December and January.

“Both Thyolo and Mulanje received four days or more of continuous rainfall and more is expected. This is a warm welcome after the, so far, wobbling season,” reads the report in part.

Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) chief executive officer, Clement Thindwa, said the drought of 2015 resulted into low yields and earnings for the leaf last year.

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He said during the period July 1 to October 27, 2015, the Limbe auction managed to sell 1.1 million kilogrammes of tea compared to 1.7million kilograms sold within the same period in 2014.

The average price was, however, higher at US$174.67 against US$139.36 in per kilogramme in 2014.

“This phenomenon has been clearly reflected in the depressed performance of the Limbe Auction, recording the worst through -put ever, necessitating postponement of auctions into the future beyond the normal fortnightly during dry season,” said Thindwa.

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