Malawi realised $14.5 million from tea sales in 2017, figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) indicate.
This is compared to $11.9 million realised in 2016.
With Malawi requiring $210 million for her exports every month, earnings from tea in 2017 could be enough to cover two days of imports.
According to RBM’s Monthly Economic Review for December, tea production surged by six percent in 2017 to hit 45.6 million kilogrammes, up from 43 million kilogrammes in 2016.
In terms of pricing, tea prices averaged $1.83 per kilogramme in 2017, while tea prices averaged $1.55 per kilogramme in 2016.
Tea is Malawi’s second major export crop after tobacco. Tea is followed by sugar on the list of Malawi’s top export crops.
RBM said tea production amounted to 5.7 million kilogrammes in December 2017, higher than 5.6 million produced in December 2016.
“In 2017, the volume of tea sales through the Limbe Auction Market amounted to 7.9 million kilogrammes while the volume of tea sales amounted to 7.7 million kilogrammes in the preceding year.
Tea is largely grown by large commercial estates as well as smallholder farmers in Mulanje, Thyolo and Nkhata Bay. There are about 18,000 hectares of tea grown in Malawi.
About half or 9,000 hectares are located in Thyolo, 6,220 hectares in Mulanje, and 650 hectares in Nkhata Bay located on the Western Shore of Lake Malawi.
Malawi exports her tea to the UK, US, South Africa, Canada, Pakistan and the Middle East.