Challenges and opportunities for small-scale tea producers in Malawi
Tea production accounts for 9% of Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings and is a major employer, but smallholder farmers are struggling. While those in neighbouring Kenya are adding value to their tea crop for their own benefit, Malawi’s smallholder farmers — the majority of whom are women — gain far less than they could from growing tea. Smallholders struggle with quality, land tenure, finance, inputs, pricing and other issues; they end up selling an inferior product, with little or no value added, at very low prices, captive to international buyers.
This briefing explores the challenges and opportunities to improving benefits for smallholder tea farmers, and suggests ways forward for smallholder tea associations, civil society organisations, the Tea Association of Malawi, the Malawian government and donors.