More Uganda tea to enter world markets

Ahram online, Wednesday 5 Jan 2011

Uganda tea production rose due to better cultivation methods, recording a 3.8 per cent increase

Uganda Tea
Uganda farmers are the reason behind the increase of the country tea output by 3.8 per cent. (photo: Reuters)

Tea output in Uganda, Africa’s third- largest producer of the item, may climb 3.8 per cent this year due to increased planting and improved crop husbandry, the Uganda Tea Association said, according to Bloomberg.

Production this calendar year may rise to 55 million kilograms, up from a provisional estimate of 53 million kilograms for 2010, Executive Secretary George Ssekitoleko said by phone today from the capital, Kampala.

“Over the years, we’ve registered a positive trend in our production and it’s likely to be the case this year with good weather,” he said. “Farmers are doing their best in caring for the crop and some of the recent plantings are now yielding.”

Ugandan tea output has been increasing since 1972, rising from 2.3 million to 5.6 million in 1985, and is recovering from the confiscations from owners during the rule of dictator Idi Amin.

While the provisional estimate for last year is a 4 per cent improvement from the 50.97 million kilograms produced in 2009, it is lower than the initial forecast of 54 million kilograms, said the association, which represents both tea producers and exporters.

“We’re still getting returns for last year, but the final production figure may be 53 million kilograms,” Ssekitoleko said, without providing a reason for the shortfall.

Uganda, which exports about 97 per cent of its crop, ships most its tea through weekly auctions at the port city of Mombasa, in neighboring Kenya. The nation’s export earnings from the leaf rose by 21 per cent to $92 million in 2009, according to the association.

In Africa, only Kenya and Malawi produce more tea than Uganda.

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