TANZANIA – In a bid to revitalize the Tanzanian tea sector and enhance its global competitiveness, the Tea Board of Tanzania (TBT) has rolled out an extensive training program aimed at empowering tea farmers and processors with advanced techniques and financing mechanisms. 

The comprehensive initiative, spanning from March to April 2024, targets participants across all scales of tea production, from smallholder farmers to large-scale producers.  

The primary objective is to elevate the quality and profitability of Tanzanian tea, positioning it to command premium prices in international markets. 

At the core of the program lies a focus on modernization and efficiency enhancement. Participants will be introduced to clonal tea planting, renowned for its superior quality and ability to fetch higher prices at auctions.  

Moreover, the training will emphasize the optimal use of fertilizers and selective herbicides to maximize crop yield and quality while minimizing costs. 

A significant aspect of the initiative involves transitioning from manual to automated processing technologies. By embracing automation, tea processors can expect to reduce operational costs significantly and improve overall efficiency in tea processing operations. 

One of the most ambitious goals of the program is to enable smallholder farmers to own and operate their own green Orthodox tea (GOT) small-scale processing factories within three years. 

The initiative aims at empowering small-scale farmers by adding value to their tea production and enhancing their market competitiveness. 

The program aims to ensure accessibility to affordable agricultural inputs for tea farmers, thereby reducing production expenses and boosting farmers’ incomes. 

Mary Kipeja, director TBT said, “We aim to facilitate smallholder farmers in processing and selling tea directly at the auction. This will help reduce production costs by promoting farmers to form contracts with banks for the collective purchase of inputs from factories at lower prices.” 

She also disclosed that TBT will facilitate the construction of five tea processing factories and two tea blending factories, with the target of establishing one factory each year to promote smallholder farmer participation in tea processing. 

The program also focuses on introducing innovative and cost-effective processing technologies to large-scale producers, aiming to increase profitability through enhanced efficiency and quality. 

With 200 participants from 60 cooperatives set to benefit from the training, the initiative underscores the TBT’s commitment to empowering tea producers with modern cultivation techniques, efficient processing technologies, and improved market access. 

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