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Tea production improves

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Tea production has started showing signs of improvement following the onset of the rains this month.

For the past few months, tea production has been deteriorating due to the dry spell experienced in the country.

According to a Van Rees report, the Limbe auction met very good demand on the Mombasa auction.

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The report said last week, Mombasa auction buyers were not in the holiday mood.

“It seems the market considered the closing for week 2 as lower than expected, which made the auction trade fully firm to dearer. Almost half of this week’s quantity on offer was absorbed by the top 3 buyers.

“This week’s Limbe Auction met very good demand, especially for the special cultivar teas. Only seedling PF1s traded easier,” reads part of the report.

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The report also said demand remains firm and the market has absorbed decent quantities of tea and is in anticipation for more.

“Production in Kenya is in full swing, in Malawi production starts to improve. In Indonesia there is more rain and we slowly see the auction quantities moving up.

“One of the question marks for the beginning of 2016 will be if El Nino effects are becoming more noticeable.

If indeed this should become visible in February with large quantities of green leaf intake in East Africa in particular,” reads the report in part.

Last month Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) said production reached record low of only 830,158 metric tons for month of August from an average of 1.5 million metric tons for the month over the past six years, owing to extreme dry and dire weather conditions.

Taml Chief Executive Officer Clement Thindwa said the adverse weather conditions necessitated the shutting down of some factories for first time in a long time as there was hardly any leaf to process.

“Unless there is some swift change in weather conditions, we may see the worst in the history of tea production in Malawi.

Nevertheless and as business people, we remain hopeful and are prepared to take appropriate strategic stance to mitigate the impact of these unfavourable cycles,” said Thindwa.

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