This month a tea auction will open in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where all the country’s tea will be sold, according to the minister for agriculture, Hussein Bashe, who was speaking in Dodoma recently.
This more formalised control of the cash crop will help farmers to find markets and reduce the cost of transporting the produce abroad.
“We will open and start this tea auction functioning in Dar es Salaam in June this year. No tea will be allowed to be sold abroad, local blenders will buy tea in Dar es Salaam auctions, and those which have direct markets will be required to register and get necessary permits.
“Through this database we will be able to identify all farmers and the areas they operate in, but we will also be able to provide them with useful information concerning tea production, markets and subsidies as part of efforts to transform the subsector,” he said.
To ensure growth in tea production, the government has already built 102 irrigation offices in all councils in the country. This should overcome one of the problems in the tea sector, which is a lack of extension services close to farmers.
“Extension officers available are living far away from farmers. We have given them motorbikes but the GPRS shows that 90% of them live in urban areas far away from the farmers,” he said
The minister further said that they expected to start recruiting youth from Sokoine University of Agriculture and allocating them to work with farmers to reduce the challenge of the lack of extension services.
Director of the National Tea Board, Marry Kipeja, said the board was implementing various strategies to ensure that there were positive changes in tea production.
She mentioned some of these strategies as increasing production by encouraging the revival of farms, encouraging the establishment of industries, strengthening the provision of extension services, as well as improving road infrastructure in tea-producing areas considerably compared to the pre-pandemic levels, and looking at the current market indicators, it does not seem that the shipping lines are going to drop back down to those low levels in the short term.