THE East Usambara Tea Company Limited (EUTCO) situated in Muheza District, Tanga Region has invested 2bn/- to improve infrastructure at its Kwamkoro and Bulwa factories in a bid to boost production capacity.
EUTCO is currently the third largest in the production of top quality tea in the country. A statement issued by the company's Managing Director D.V.Singh in Dar es Salaam said the company is focused to produce tea in the most cost effective, sustainable manner consistent with responsible employment and environmental practices.
"We have made large investments of up to 2bn/- this year in new and improved tea machinery for modernization of both our factories. Installation is currently under progress. We believe the new machines will improve efficiencies, reduce costs and result in better tea grades.
He said the company expects to double production capacity to five million Kilogrammes of black tea given a yield potential of 2,500 kilogrammes of made tea per hectare. "With the recently launched National Tea Development Programme it is envisaged that out grower tea production in the Usambara Mountains will exceed over one million kilogrammes of black tea," he said.
He added EUTCO has begun the process of uprooting old tea areas and replacing them with new tea planting materials, adding that up to 59 hectares have been replanted to date. "This will increase yields by 3 times. The new plantings have been carefully selected in view of the changing weather patterns and they are drought resistant to ensure high yield output even in times of drought or low rainfall.
"We are the only company in Tanzania, which has implemented such a programme with internal funding for ensured long-term health and success of the company," he said. He said the company with a total area of 2019 hectres with about 3,500 workers during the season has been encouraging out growers by providing plants from the company's own tea nurseries at subsidised rates.