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Tanganda Tea Company foCus food & agriculture

We have a lot to thank tea for it refreshes your body, fuels your energy and, of course, the British empire was built on it. Jokes aside, it is the favoured beverage of millions around the globe. it is also responsible for the fortunes of the Tanganda Tea Company, Zimbabwes biggest tea grower and producer. However, as well learn, tea isnt the only kid in town. By ian armitage

nywhere you go in the world you can always find a shop selling tea. Tea was discovered in China over 5,000 years ago and its popularity quickly spread. Today, it is in most offices and homes and millions enjoy a good cuppa. If you wondered who to thank odds are you neednt look further than the Tanganda Tea Company, Zimbabwes biggest tea grower and producer. It is the best-selling brand of tea in the country and central Africa and it exports bulk tea leaves all over the world. Its even claimed that six out of every ten cups of tea drunk in Britain every day are brewed from a blend containing leaves from Tangandas estates. Thats a mean feat. As the name gives away, we are primarily involved in the production, packaging and distribution of tea, says MD Tim Fennell. Our major brand is Tanganda but we have many. Unfortunately, times in the tea trade have been tough of late. Sure, there is always a huge demand, but low prices have been prevailing on the world market. It has seen Tanganda diversify into new crops - avocado and macadamia nut farming in particular - to increase earnings. Why have we gone down this road? Well, tea production costs have been rising, yet prices on world markets have been stable, making the crop marginal. Frequent power outages, poor weather and increasing labour costs have also affected production. As a result, we saw it viable to diversify into other crops. The cost of labour in particular remains a significant challenge and discussions with the relevant authorities for a


Tanganda Tea Company foCus food & agriculture

sustainable wage are being progressed, Mr Fennell says. Its an ongoing challenge. Wages have increased dramatically, perhaps to the point that it starts to become a little bit of a worry, as its a viability issue. Thats one reason that we have to grow more profitable crops. Power is another problem. Were now so expensive in world terms for electricity. Tanganda Tea Company owns and operates five estates covering 2,600 hectares tea with additional land being developed for the new crops. The Group is divided into two main operating divisions - Agricultural and Beverage. Fennell says it plans to put several hundred hectares under macadamia nuts and avocados and coffee.

We identified macadamia nuts, avocadoes and coffee as the best and most complimentary crops. What weve done is weve basically embarked on the first stage of our diversification programme - the building of nurseries and growing of seedlings. That is obviously quite a process but we hope to have about 700 hectares of macadamias planted, 300 hectares of coffee planted and 500 hectares of avocadoes planted by March 2013. We intend to expand that. The first 150 hectares of coffee that we planted last year will come into its first small crop in 2014. By 2015 that project will be in full swing. The avocadoes we planted this year and obviously weve got major

ZFC Limited and Tanganda Tea Company

It takes two!
ZFC Limited is the dominant manufacturer and distributer of Fertilisers and Agrochemicals in Zimbabwe and at the same time a major player in the regional market. ZFC Limited and Tanganda Tea Company have a long standing business relationship dating back two decades. For the Tanganda cropping enterprises that include Tea, Coffee, Macadamia and Avocado, ZFC Limited has provided Fertilizers that include Tea Fertilisers, Coffee Blends, Compounds, Fruit Fertilisers; Gypsum; Lime and Foliar Fertilisers. Agrochemicals also provided to the estates are in the form of Fungicides, Herbicides and Insecticides. Apart from Fertilizers and Agrochemicals, ZFC Limited also provides a strong Agronomic Support Team of agronomists that work hand in hand with estate managers on all the Tanganda Tea Company estates and assist with product back up services, the servicing of customer enquiries, soil sampling as well as research and development of new products that can be of use on the estates. ZFC Limited continuously thrives to improve its product quality by working hand in hand with Tanganda Tea Company and as a result of the existing strong business relationship between the two companies; ZFC Limited has established substantial business opportunities with Tanganda Tea Company.

Weve basically embarked on the first stage of our diversification programme


Tanganda Tea Company foCus food & agriculture

G&W Industrial Minerals and Tanganda Tea Company

Since 1969, G&W Industrial Minerals Zimbabwe has been producing and supplying dolomitic and calcitic agricultural limes to many estates around Zimbabwe including Tanganda Tea Estates for the production of tea (camellia sinensis), macademia, coffee and other crops. On average Tanganda Tea Estates has been using not less than 2 500 tonnes of lime annually. Benefits of lime on Tea Quality Tea is a widely consumed beverage. However, recent studies reveal that there were an increasing number of cases of tea products exceeding the maximum permissible concentration (MPC) usually (2mg per kg). Tea Lead (Pb) contamination is an issue affecting trade and consumer confidence. Root uptake of Pb could contribute significantly to Pb accumulation in tea leaves due to strong acidity of many tea garden soils. Agricultural lime is a very important crop input, which is often overlooked by many farmers with the consequence that their overall yields continue to decline over time. Addition of CaCO3 significantly increases soil pH thereby decreasing soil extractable Pb by up to 32%. The Pb concentration in fine roots, stems and new shoots of tea plants is significantly reduced after liming the soil. As a result tea quality is enhanced and consumer satisfaction increased. Other Beneficial Effects are: Improved fertilizer use efficiency by your crops. Use of fertilizer alone without lime will result in poor fertilizer uptake and reduce the economic benefit of using fertilizer. Application of lime improves the availability of soil nutrients to plants. At low pH, these nutrients will remain insoluble and hence inaccessible to crops. An important point to note is that the effectiveness of agricultural lime on your soil depends on its purity, its fineness and its neutralizing value. G&W Industrial Minerals (Pvt) Ltd are proud to inform you that our lime is purer, finer and of highest neutralizing value, it will give farmers high value for money.

plantings that will take place between August and December after our winter and those will come into what I would say is a meaningful production, probably 2017. The macadamias will only really come into proper production in 2018-2019. We do have areas under tea that are not particularly suitable from a terrain and water point of view so there is a possibility that we could remove some tea and increase the other crops, but not as a policy to remove tea. Currently we have 2,600 hectares of tea. We may bring that down to 2,400 and simply take out marginal areas. Of course the other thing that we would always look at, which is not easy in Zimbabwe at the moment because of the various land issues and so on, but we would definitely look at purchasing more ground in order to develop more of the new crops. He expects Tanganda to reap massive benefits from diversifying into those crops. As I said, we are increasing our hectarage for macadamias and are embarking on a substantial development of avocados, and this will also be included in our out6 www.southafricamag.com

Producers of High Quality Agricultural Lime and Industrial Minerals

No 12 Tilbury Road Willowvale Harare Tel: +263 04 6116518 Fax: +263 04 611650 Email: sales@gwzim.co.zw

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Improve yields with G&W agricultural lime

Develop the roots and enjoy the fruits

grower programmes. Of course we have an extensive tea out-grower scheme involving small-scale farmers around our estates. We expect good returns on this investment these crops are pretty good money spinners if theyre done properly. Fennell is certainly hoping Tanganda can profit from its pastures. These are very much complementary crops, especially in terms of the time of year that theyre reaped. When youre only harvesting tea youre incredibly busy from December to June and quiet for the rest of the year. With these new crops well get a 10-month inflow of cash over 12 months because of the variation of the reaping times. It no longer means the labour force is busy for a certain period and then theres no work for them. This is the heart of the complimentary crops. Tanganda, which was founded in 1930 and is based in Harare, is a subsidiary of Meikles Africa Limited. Meikles was the first company to comply with Zimbabwes indigenisation regulations.

Tanganda certainly has an incredible history. The first tea was planted in the Chipinge area in 1924 and the Tanganda Tea Company that we know today purchased that company in 1943. Its development and so on has basically been going on since then. And it has a bright future. Although the tea industry has been in the doldrums for the past few years we actually see a bright future for it and the main reason for that is the development in the tea drinking market in places like China and the ability of people to be able to afford to be able to drink a cup of tea, says Fennell. Not in the short-term but in the mediumterm we hope to see hopefully a big growth in world tea consumption which will be far greater than production and therefore the tea industry as a whole will become viable as we go forward. END To learn more about the Tanganda Tea Company visit www.tanganda.co.zw.
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