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Tea sales improve in October

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Even though the tea sector is facing challenges due to low productivity this year, the Limbe Tea Auction registered positive returns in the week ending October 21.

A report released by Van Rees Group said about 79 percent of the teas auctioned at Limbe were sold during the week.

“At the end of the auction day 79 percent of the teas were sold.The seasonal dryness is there again and the weather conditions are very hot and dry. Crop intake is low and in Mozambique, tea estates are closed due to the little leaf intake. In two weeks, there won’t be an auction due to a low quantity on offer,” reads part of the report.

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Two weeks ago, Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) Chairperson, Sangwani Hara, conceded that this year is one of the worst years in the history of the tea sector in the country.

He said the change in the weather pattern has seen tea production dropping by almost five million kilogrammes.

Hara said the low output has also had an effect in terms of pricing and revenue collected.

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“We are hoping that this year, we will have early rains in order to resuscitate the tea fields. We believe with goods rains, production will pick and we might end up having a good year,” he said.

Between March and April, some tea factories temporarily closed down due to low productivity as there was no green tea to process.

Tea is Malawi’s second major foreign exchange earner after tobacco and contributes about 10 percent to Gross Domestic Product, with an employment rate of over 50,000.

For a better part of the year, the auction has been struggling to make positive returns due to low tea output. In some months, the weekly auction could only take place once in a month or go the whole month without sales.

The low output follows Malawi’s bad rainy season, which affected a number of crops and even water levels in most rivers and Lake Malawi.

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