Important developments welcomed at Malawian Tea Association meeting

On September 7th and 8th, the Tea Association of Malawi hosted the largest gathering of organizations interested in the future of the Malawian tea sector to identify important developments and formulate key components for an action plan for the next 18 months.

Malawian tea companies were joined by Hon. Henry Mussa M.P. The Minister of Labor Youth and Manpower Development, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, international tea buyers, traders, retailers, unions, NGOs, and development partners. Participants at the meeting welcomed some important developments:

  • A substantial rise in workers’ wages from MK560 to MK850 on September 1st 2015
  • An increase in smallholder first green leaf prices from US13 cents/kg of green leaf to US15 cents/kg on September 1st 2015
  • A way forward to develop a collective bargaining agreement agreed at side meetings
  • The continued support of the Malawi Government to the process

The open and frank discussion between participants helped build trust between different companies at different points in the tea supply chain and with other organizations involved in the sector. The key components of an action plan for the next 18 months were agreed, which include:

  • Developing clear costings for replanting and other upgrading required to improve quality and seeking finance to support these improvements
  • Improving communication between buyers and suppliers to improve understanding of quality and other improvements that could result in higher prices and changes in business practices, which could support producers
  • Continuing to work to improve smallholder farming practices, yields, quality, income and income diversification, supporting the Government’s ambitious growth plans for the smallholder sector
  • Agreeing a collective bargaining agreement and building capacity with unions and employers for effective collective bargaining
  • Improving nutrition on tea estates
  • Mainstreaming policies and approaches to eliminate harassment and discrimination of women

Revitalising the Malawian tea industry

For the benefit of everyone