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Tea production behind

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Even though the weather has been favourable this year, the country’s tea production is yet to hit its average production of 40 million kilogrammes.

This was revealed on the sidelines of a tea day organised jointly by the Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative.

The tea day was set aside to sensitise Malawians on the importance of drinking the beverage.

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Taml Chairman Sangwani Hara said tea production is behind that of last year.

“Although we are behind, there is potential to catch up with our production lines by June if we continue to experience wet weather,” he said.

Hara said other tea producing countries like Kenya and India are also facing a similar problem of low production.

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“Kenya and India are also behind so, if we can catch up on production and global supply, we think we will be able to benefit from the gap that is there on the market,” Hara said.

During the tea day, different varieties of tea were showcased as companies in the sector engage a diversification drive.

“Ordinarily, we have been producing black tea as a country, but now, with the global demand, producers have diversified and are producing other varieties of tea like green tea, oolong and white tea.

“By producing these teas, the producers are trying to cater for the demands on the market,” he said.

Tea is scientifically known as camellia sinensis and according to Hara, some producers are producing a product similar to tea but which is not tea at all.

“If you look at the contents on the packages, you will find that there is no camellia sinensis in there. So, that is not tea and it’s not a healthy drink,” he said.

Sustainable Trade Initiative Country Director Daisy Kambalame said Malawi produces the best tea and needs to increase its domestic consumption.

“What we would like to see is increased economic activity within the tea industry and the country as a whole. The more we consume tea, the more the growers will produce,” she said.

Kambalame also said tea is a beverage that can be taken at any time without regard to weather conditions.

“Tea is both a hot and cold beverage and can be taken anytime. It is, therefore, important that consumers should consider shifting from taking fizzy drinks and start taking tea,” Kambalame said.

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