Malawi tea is now being recognised in Canada and United States of America (USA), thanks to good agricultural practices that have become a strong determinant of tea-sourcing decisions and choices by tea buyers worldwide.
Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) chief executive officer Clement Thindwa said on Monday that international buyers lean towards tea producers that advocate the new and upcoming business values and principles with the potential fall-out for those not shifting towards them.
“These principles are some of the pillars that are driving the Malawi Tea 2020 Revitalisation Programme, the most ambitious programme ever that aims at rejuvenating and delivering a thriving and sustainable Malawi tea industry,” he said.
Malawi is the second largest producer of tea in Africa after Kenya—which produces close to 500 million kilogrammes (kg) in a normal year—and the crop is the second major foreign exchange earner after tobacco, contributing about seven percent to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Malawi’s entire tea output hovers around 40 million kg, according to Taml.
Figures from Taml show that the tea industry is the largest private sector employer, employing about 60 000 people.
At the recent Eighth Annual Northern American Tea Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, Eastern Produce was recognised for the quality specialty tea it produced and scooped three awards.
Over the past few years, Malawi has made inroads in both USA and Canadian tea markets, registering export increases of 435 percent to Canada and 85 percent for USA between 2015 and 2016.
Mid this year, a group of Dutch investors comprising tea importers, tea shop owners, health consultants and bank representatives, were in the country to evaluate Malawi teas for the Dutch market.