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October 13, 2008

Tanzanian tea output may rise 33% by 2011-12

By Fred Ojambo

Tea production in Tanzania, Africa's fourth-largest grower of the leaf, may rise 33 percent by 2011- 12 as cultivation expands into new areas and as farmers replant unused acreage, the director of the Tanzania Tea Board said.

Tea output may increase to 44 million kilograms in 2011-12 from about 33 million kilograms in 2007-08, Mathius Assenga, the director general of the board, said today in a phone interview from Dar es Salaam, the country's commercial capital.

Production in 2008-09 may climb to 37 million kilograms because of good weather and expanded planting, he said.

``There is a campaign for farmers to plant in the empty spaces in their fields,'' he said. ``We are introducing the crop in an area bordering Kenya, and this should help push production to 44 million in 2011-12 if the weather is good and farmers use fertilizers.''

This new area, at Mara on the Kenyan border, is expected to produce 2 million kilograms of tea annually, he said. The country's main growing areas are Iringa and Mbeya in the south, Tanga in the north-east and Kagera in the north-west.

Tanzania earned $37 million exporting 27 million kilograms of tea in 2007-08, and expects to export 29 kilograms in 2008- 09, earning it $41 million, Assenga said.


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