STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 1

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42 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 1, 2016 (February/March) By Jane Pettigrew M alawi has been growing tea commercially since the beginning of the 20th century. It was the first East African country to develop tea estates and is today the second largest producer in the region after Kenya, and eighth in the world, with an outturn of 42 million kilos per year. Smallholder farming was established in 1964 in three districts – Nkhata Bay, Mulanje, and Thyolo – with support from the Smallholder Tea Authority (STA) under the Minis- try of Agriculture, the Malawi government, and the British Commonwealth Corporation (CDC). The Tea Authority provided seedlings, fertilizer, training, and extension services as well as advice and support with pest control, transportation, packaging, and market- ing. The authority paid farmers promptly for their green leaf. The sector grew rapidly, farmers prospered, and by the 1980s, smallholders accounted for 14% of land under tea and 7% of production. But in the 1990s, a change of government, the liberalization of the economy, the privatization of previously state-owned companies, and the re- organization of the STA resulted in the collapse of the support systems, late payments for farmers, the closure of some tea factories, and despondency and low morale among the farmers. Gradually, new alliances were formed between some of the smallholder farmers and six private tea companies – Lujeri Tea Estates, Eastern Produce (Malawi) Ltd., Advances in Smallholder Tea Farming in Malawi Opportunities for smallholders growing tea are changing for the better in Africa and around the world Satemwa white peony

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