TEA Is obtained by plucking, drying and curing the young leaves of the shrub tree.
In Kenya, it’s grown around Kericho and Limuru.
In Tanzania, its grown around Iringa and Mbeya, Southern highlands and on slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
In Uganda, it Is grown around Lake Victoria regions in Lugazi at Kasaku Tea estates, Mityana, Bushenyi, Fort Portal, and Kigezi.
Harvesting takes about 3-4years after planting.
Problems facing Tea production
- Dangerous animals e.g. snakes, attack the workers hence scaring them away.
- Inadequate storage facilities lead to losses due to rotting of the tea and destruction by pests.
- Tea has a long gestation period of about 3 to 4years until the first harvest which also demoralizes the farmers.
- Inadequate capital yet expensive machinery is used in tea processing.
- Scarcity of labour to do plucking during the harvesting period.
- Competition with other beverages such as Coffee, Vanilla, and Cocoa reduces the market for tea.
- Limited land for tea plantations due to the ever-increasing population.
- Soil exhaustion due to monoculture leading to low and poor quality yields.
- Competition with other tea producing countries like Brazil and Malaysia leading to an inadequate market.
- Unstable tea prices leading to price fluctuation on the world market which demoralizes the farmers.
- Natural hazards e.g. hailstorms which destroy large parts of plantations leading to low output e.g. at Kericho.
- Competition with unwanted weeds for plant nutrients leading to poor quality produces e.g. couch grass.
- Pests e.g. yellow tea termites and aphids which destroy the crop leaves leading to losses.
- Diseases e.g. root fungus disease which leads to poor quality output.