Tea Research Foundation for Central Africa (TRFCA) has said tea production in Malawi is likely to drop this year due to climate change.
TRFCA director Albert Changaya was responding to Business News question on this yearâ€™s tea production outlook presented during the foundationâ€™s symposium in Mulanje recently
â€œTea estimate for this year is 43 million kg compared to 45 million kg last year. A few years ago, tea production was at 50 million kg.
â€œThyolo and Mulanje areas used to receive rains ranging from 1 500mm to 2 000mm per year, they now receive rains averaging between 1 200mm and 1 500mm per year,â€ he said.
Changaya said tea requires a lot of water throughout the year, but with climate change, the rains are erratic.
He said over the past 50 years, temperature has risen by 0.44 degrees Celsius in Thyolo and 0.83 in Mulanje, which Changaya described as a big rise for the survival of many living things, including tea.
TRFCA also observed that there have been increased incidents of pests and diseases that have impacted negatively on yields and the quality of tea.
He, however, said TRFCA has released cultivars such as PC168, PC175, PC185, PC198 and PC213 which are tolerant to drought, are high-yielding and have high quality.
Tea is the third major export earner for Malawi after tobacco and sugar.