Despite a difficult agricultural year marred by an industrial strike in December 2001 and poor rains, Tanganda Tea managed to produce a record crop of 11 011 tonnes.
According to the company’s results for the year ending October, though trading has been adversely affected by declining disposable incomes which have forced people to resort to lower priced brands, coupled with shortages of milk and sugar, Tanganda “continues to be synonymous with tea and tea drinkers…. and remains substantially the cheapest beverage”.
The company saw its sales increase by 157 percent from $1.9 billion to nearly $5 billion with exports accounting for $3.8 billion. They increased by 162 percent.
Local sales grew by 142 percent to $1.2 billion. Profit attributable to shareholders increased by 274 percent from $609.6 million to $2.3 billion.
The company says tea prices were relatively flat but it expanded its plantations by 110 hectares.
It also produced 400 tonnes for green coffee, down from 481 tonnes.
The decline in yields was largely due to declining international prices. Because of the poor yields and low international prices, the company is reducing fields under coffee with immediate effect.
Only those sections which have an above average history of appropriate yields will be retained. Some of the sections will be turned to tea production or be converted to maize fields for the company’s workers.
The company says despite the extended dry periods and poor outlook for rain, crop production for the current year should match that of 2002 because of excellent water resources.
It says it will concentrate its expansion on the Tingamira Export Processing Zone project which is now making a significant contribution to the company’s sales.
This expansion should be concluded before the end of next month. The company is spending $1.2 billion on capital expenditure the bulk of which will be on Tingamira. Last year capital expenditure amounted to $523 million.