Nairobi — Tea traders can now export the product to Mombasa auctions via the port of Dar es Salaam, thanks to an investor's investment in a state of the art warehouse in Tanzania's commercial capital.
DL Group has set up a warehouse and termed it: Rift Valley Tea Solution Ltd Dar es salaam in the endeavour to boost Tanzania's tea production and exports, the firm's executive chairman, Dr David Langat, told journalists at the weekend.
The Dar es Salaam warehouse, he said, has been certified as a member of the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) which runs the Mombasa Tea Auction.
He said through the certification, Tanzania tea producers will no longer be required to deliver and warehouse tea in Mombasa so as to sell through the Mombasa auction but can send samples, catalogue and sale directly from Dar es Salaam and export the produce through Dar es Salaam port which will reduce the selling and distribution cost of the producers by more than 50 per cent.
This means that tea from Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi and Tanzania is warehoused in Dar es Salaam for auctioning in Mombasa.
"Lack of an EATTA certified warehouse of this nature gravely undermined efforts toward regional tea cultivation, processing and selling," Dr Langat told journalists here at the weekend.
DL Group, he said, was working very closely with governments Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda and Zambia in the endeavour to raise tea production.
This is first time EATTA has approved a warehouse outside Mombasa since 1948.
"The biggest constraint was lack of a warehouse that could meet the stringent international standards and requirements. Having a warehouse is a big step forward," he said.
He said Tanzania is the second largest tea exporter in east and central Africa. "Our aim is to make Tanzania the first largest regional tea exporter because the possibility of increasing productionand processing is there," he said.
Tea is one of Tanzania's eight traditional cash crops. Other crops are cotton, pyrethrum, cashew nut, sisal, sugarcane, coffee and tobacco.
Within the region, DL Group owns Mufindi Tea and Coffee Ltd, Kibena Tea Ltd, Ikanga Tea Company ltd, Rift Valley Tea Solutions Ltd and Kyimbila Tea Packers Ltd.