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Tea industry to diversify

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As prices for black tea continue to dwindle on the international market, the Malawi tea sector is diversifying into special tea such as green tea.

The demand for green teas is growing international and the prices are much better as compared to the black tea.

Speaking during a tea testing exercise organised jointly by the Tea Association of Malawi and the Canada Tea Association, Taml Chief Executive Officer Clement Thindwa said the green tea are a new phenomenon to the Malawi tea industry.

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He, however, said the tea industry has embraced it and most estates would want to diversify to green teas.

“Black tea prices have been a challenge over the years and it is proper for our tea sector to diversify into a profitable market.

Though it is a new phenomenon some of the local tea estates like Satemwa are already into green tea production and we expect the other estates to follow suit,” said Thindwa.

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Satemwa Factory Manager Alfred Mwase said Satemwa diversified to specialty orthodox teas in order to sustain its business.

He said internationally, there are a lot of buyers who are looking for unique tea.

“The challenge of black tea prices forced us to diversify into these unique teas. We thought this was a good way to go in order to sustain our business. Actually, there are a lot of buyers who are looking for the unique tea,” said Mwase.

He further said the tea testing exercise enabled the sector to compare the local and foreign tea in terms of quality.

Mwase said the exercise will help the industry improve on the quality of its tea.

“We might not be able to achieve the aromas of the international tea, but Malawi tea is unique on its own and will be able to compete internationally especially in the Canadian market,” he said.

Canadian Tea Emporium Founder Shabnam Weber said Malawi tea has a nice rich flavor which will enable it penetrate through the Canadian market.

“The tea testing we have had gave us a nice spectrum of the different types of Malawi teas. They are a beautiful addition to the world of tea,” she said.

Weber said the green tea market is growing because of the healthy benefits it has.

She said the prices for the green teas ranges from 80 to 100 Canadian dollars per 100 gram on retail in Canada.

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