Government has been urged to incentivize the growing of coffee and tea to maintain and grow the export quota of one of the country’s strategic crops.
Chipinge is the first place in the country to grow tea with commercial production starting in 1924 resulting in years of remarkable expansion that also saw coffee being grown in the area to make tea and coffee one of the country’s strategic crops.
Due to fluctuating global prices most farmers are shunning the growing of coffee while tea fields are not being expanded says Tanganda Tea Company Estates administration manager, Julius Guni.
“There is need to incentivise the growing of tea and coffee crops by new and existing farmers,” he said.
He added that subsidies and import weaver when capitalizing tea and coffee business can play an important role in maintaining a steady growth in the growing of tea and coffee in the country.
Ratelshoek Estate manager, Clifford Mashava said the growing of tea should be encouraged since it is a long term investment adding some of the tea plantations at the estate were grown in 1932 and are only being maintained while harvesting is a continuous process.
A sizeable number of farmers are growing tea under an out grower programme but their activities can be expanded with increased capitalisation.
The country’s largest tea producer Tanganda channels about 2 000 tonnes of tea towards the domestic market while exporting 6 000 tonnes marking tea and coffee mainly export investment ventures that can boost the country’s foreign currency receipts.