Malawi’s tea production from January to October 2012 stood at 36.9 million kilogrammes, representing a 6.2 percent drop compared to the same period last year, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has said.
Between January and October last year, Malawi’s tea production was pegged 39.3 million kilogrammes, according to RBM latest figures.
The central bank has since attributed the drop to unfavourable weather conditions in some tea-growing areas across the country.
Tea is one of Malawi’s main foreign exchange earners and last year’s exports revenue from the crop was pegged at $65.8 million (about K21 billion).
“A total of 11.6 million kilogrammes of tea was sold at an average price of US$1.70 per kilogramme during the first 10 months of the year, compared to 11.4 million kilogrammes auctioned at average price of $1.61 per kilogramme in a similar period last year,” reads an October 2012 economic review by RBM.
The bank says during the same period, total realisation was higher at $19.7 million (about K6.5 billion) than $18.3 million (about K6 billion) realised in a similar period last year.
Tea production, according to RBM, declined by 40.3 percent to 1.3 million kilogrammes in October 2012, from 2.2 million kilogrammes produced in October 2011 on account of average rainfall conditions.
RBM says in October, 2012, the volume of tea auction sales stood at 435 300 kilogrammes in the review month and sold at an average price of $2.02 (about K650) per kilogramme.
“This represented a decline of 3.4 percent from 450 800 kilogrammes auctioned at an average price of $1.87 per kilogramme in October 2011,” says the central bank.
It says the drop in volume of sales was a reflection of the lower production.
Tea was Malawi’s top foreign exchange earner until 1918 when it was surpassed by tobacco.
About 20 000 hectares is under tea cultivation in Malawi, according to available figures.
Last year, the Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) projected that there will be better tea harvests and revenue in the year 2012 on account of better rains at the start of the year.
According to the association, in recent years, Malawi’s tea sector has improved tremendously with improved quality and prices offered at the auction.