US$100 million could save tea companies in Gurué, Mozambique

13 April 2007

Maputo, Mozambique, 13 April – Tea producing companies in the district of Gurué in the Mozambican province of Zambezia, need at least US$100 million to renovate 10,000 hectares of land available for tea production, Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported.

The funding would be used for purchasing pesticides for treatment and buying more productive tea varieties.

According to the paper, “due to the aging of the plants, harvests in the last few years have fallen in terms of quantity and quality, which leads to the Mozambican product being sold at auction on the Kenyan market.”

The Gurué district is 350 kilometers from Quelimane.

Of the countries known internationally as being tea producers, Mozambique is the only one which has not yet invested in renewing its crop.

The Gurué companies have said they need cash to re-launch tea production, but have said they believe that using only a bank loan it will not be possible to carry out their project and have called for State involvement.

In 2006, Mozambican tea companies sold almost all their production, but this scenario changed dramatically at the beginning of 2007.

The price of a kilogram of tea fell from US$1 in 2006 to a much lower level this year due to increased availability of the product.

Tea, which used to be the mainstay of the Gurué economy, currently accounts for just 1 percent of Mozambique’s GDP, against between 4 and 7 percent before independence and 11 percent between 1980 and 1982. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH