After years of exporting tea in the raw form, Afri-Tea and Coffee Blenders Company will from next year start selling 15 to 20 per cent of the finished product in blended form to the vast European Union market.
The company's decision - which is aimed at promoting value-added Tanzanian products - comes in the wake of a survey of the EU market which, among other things, revealed that there is a huge demand for 'finished tea' in the 28 member-nation Union
The company's head of marketing, Zachy Mbenna, told The Citizen that this is "good news for farmers because there would be a huge demand for the product" in one of the world's most reliable export markets.
Also, a goodly number of Tanzanians will secure employment in the value-addition processes.
"Not many people in foreign lands know much regarding Tanzanian tea, although they do know something about Tanzanian coffee, having tasted and liked it," Mr Mbenna said.
So, this is the right time for Tanzania to effectively promote and market its 'finished tea,' after years of selling the crop in the raw form, the marketing chief stated - stressing that "we are currently selling raw materials; that is not good enough in seeking to promote our country overseas."
Statistics from the Tea Board of Tanzania show that Tanzania produced 26,975,387 kilos of tea during the 2016/17 harvest season.
That was a 17.33 per cent drop compared with 32,628,680 kilos recorded during the preceding year.
Similarly, tea export dropped by 20.22 per cent to 23,314,598 kilos in 2016/17 compared with 2015/16.
The country earned $41.32 million from exports during the 2016/17 financial year, down from $51.795 million which was earned during the preceding year.