Strong rains boost Malawi tea output
Lilongwe, August 24, 2009
Earnings from tea, Malawi's second-biggest foreign exchange earner after tobacco, and from coffee are set to rise this year due to strong rains, a senior agriculture official has said.
'Between January and July this year, 34,000 metric tonnes of tea was produced compared to 31,000 metric tonnes during the same period last year,' Agriculture ministry principal secretary Andrew Daudi told Reuters.
He said overall production would exceed last year's 45,000 tonnes, but did not give a precise estimate.
Tea accounts for 7.9 per cent of foreign exchange earnings in Malawi, Africa's second biggest producer after Kenya.
The ministry also said coffee production had slightly increased from 1,810 tonnes last year to 1,900 tonnes, with projected earnings of $4.5 million this year.
Agriculture drives the southern African nation's economy, which in recent years has experienced phenomenal growth. In the last four years, annual expansion has averaged 7 per cent.-Reuters