MUTARE — The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) plans to revive its tea plantations in the eastern highlands in February next year using proceeds from its Green Field ethanol project, an official said on Friday.
Arda partnered Macdom and Ratings Investments to form Green Fuel, which owns the Chisumbanje ethanol plant and the authority receives a percentage from the profits generated through the joint venture.
“We have secured relative revenue from the ethanol production (and) we decided to use the money generated from the partnership to fund agricultural programmes and tea plantations is one of them,” Basil Nyabadza, the Arda chairman told The Source.
This could see the return of the popular Katiyo Tea to the shop shelves, he said.
“The revival of tea plantations is vital for us and we think it would help if we engage more out growers which would increase our output,” he said.
Nyabadza said the collapse of the tea plantations and poor prices had seen many farmers abandoning tea growing in favour of bananas. The number of tea growers fell by 60% to 1 200 from 3 000 in 2005.
As of September, tea was selling at seven cents per kg.