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November 25, 2009

Uganda's tea output goes up

Uganda’s tea output increased this season thanks to welcome rains, said Uganda Tea Association (UTA).

However, UTA officials could not give figures of how much production has increased save for reports from the different players which indicate a good output. Tea is Uganda’s fourth largest export earner.

Industry experts say the increase in production means the country will be in position to meet the annual export projection of 46 million kilogrammes.

Last year, Uganda earned over $76 million from close to 45 million bags of tea exported. Uganda has been earning high prices at the Mombassa auction for two consecutive years.

This started just after the 2008 Kenya's post election crisis. Tea prices were the highest ever, fetching between $2.45 - $2.60 per kilogrammes.

Uganda's tea is still enjoying a good price at the Mombasa auction where on average a kilogramme costs $1.8 - $1.9 . This is happening even at a time when the dollar is depreciating against the local currency.

Uganda exports almost all its tea through the auction at Mombasa and it's indirectly exported to Europe, Middle East, Russia and America as Kenya, save for a few companies which have embarked on exporting through the fair trade initiative, exports its tea to the UK.

Energy costs have dug holes into the pockets of tea farmers. Currently a litre of diesel, which is required to run generators, costs Shs2,000.

Uganda's tea is grown mostly in the south western and central regions and the country has got about 25,000 hectares of tea. This has created employment for over 62, 000 Ugandans with close to 500,000 dependants.

There are close to 12 tea processing and exporting companies operating 21 processing factories.

Uganda is the world's 13th largest tea producer and the third in East and central Africa after Kenya and Malawi, according to the UN.

Other countries growing tea in Africa include; Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia.

Commodity Online

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