Tea Association of Malawi Limited (Taml) is unclear on prospects of the industry raking in the projected export value of $100 million this year due to fluctuations in prices on the international market.
This is despite projections that the country would produce 50 million kilogrammes (kg) of tea this year.
It comes against the background of reduced volumes in recent years that also reflected on earnings.
For example, in 2018 the country produced 50.5 million kg of tea which dropped to 48.1 million kg in 2019 and further went down to 45.1 million kg last year.
However, despite the projected increase in output, revenue from the crop is expected to be subdued due to excess production of the crop in Kenya.
In an interview Taml Chairperson Sangwani Hara said Kenya produced 459 million kg of tea in 2019, but output inched up to 570 million kg in 2020.
“This year, Kenya is doing as well as last year; so if this trajectory continues, it means the country will produce as much as last year,” Hara said.
Makandi Tea and Coffee General Manager Estate Rajeev Singh Raway said he expected the weather to be favourable this year to increase production and therefore earn more on the international market.
“It is too early to determine production prospects this year but if the rain continues, I anticipate increasing production,” Raway said.
The tea industry is the largest formal sector employer in Malawi, employing 50,000 workers and providing livelihoods to more than 14,000 smallholders.