According to Tanzania Tea Board (TTB), tea procurement decreased by 16.2 percent to 6,069 tones during the first three months of this year when compared to 7,889.8 tonnes recorded during the corresponding period in 2021.
The decrease mainly due to prolonged drought in tea growing areas and sudden outbreak of hailstones in some of tea fields leading to tea leaves destruction.
However, when compared with the fourth quarter of last year, tea procurement increased by 30 percent, as 6,069.1 tonnes procured.
As of 2019/20, the production of tea in Tanzania was estimated at 40 thousand metric tons, keping an upward trend. In the previous crop season, around 37.2 thousand metric tons of tea were produced in the country.
Tea being one of the country’s main cash crops, Tanzania targets to harvest 60,000,000kg by 2024/25.
In a bid to meet this ambitious target, the board has set out a myriad of strategies including reviving abandoned old farms; expand existing tea plantations, for example, in Njombe and also to increase seedlings production for new plantations.
Tea production in Tanzania is currently produced in an area measuring 23,805.55 hectares, where 40% i.e., 11,500 hectares is held by smallholder farmers while largescale farmers manage the remaining 12,300 hectares.
The leading tea producing regions in the country include Iringa, Mbeya and Njombe harvesting approximately 70 per cent of the country’s total output. Others are Tanga, Kagera and Mara regions.
During the last financial year, the government planned to spend 400m/- for the production of quality seedling, provide training for small scale farmers and develop four big plantations managed by the Korogwe and Lushoto Smallholder Tea Farmers Agency (TSHTDA).
The tea crop earns the nation foreign exchange amounting to US dollars 60 million a year and provides direct employment to more than 50,000 people in the tea processing industries.
According to the government plat, until 2025, the tea market in Tanzania is forecast to reach $569.87 million (in retail prices), thus increasing of 12.89 percent per annum for the period 2020-2025.
However, according to Gatsby Charitable, the UK charity which supports the crop in Tanzanian, farmers receive a smaller share of the sector’s earnings at 37 percent of the made tea sale price, compared to more than 70 percent received by Kenyan smallholders who benefit from ownership of factories.