Tea growers need machinery

Published: 02 May 2019
Tea growers in Honde Valley are seeking assistance to buy equipment to speed up the pruning of their plants in preparation for the resumption of production in September.

Honde Valley Tea Growers Association chairman Mr Charles Sanhanga said farmers were taking turns to use the available brush cutters, but this would delay the pruning process for most farmers.

"Tea is an all-year crop and we have production cycles," he said.

"Currently, production has declined as we are approaching the winter season and most farmers are now pruning their plants to allow them to start shooting again.

"Our challenge is lack of equipment to use in the pruning process. We need more brush cutters and we have more than 200 farmers currently sharing one cutter, which is delaying the process."

Mr Sanhanga said only three brush cutters out of the available eight were operational, a development which would delay pruning until June or July when the plant is supposed to be shooting again.

"We had eight brush cutters, but five of those broke down and it has been difficult to repair them since the Eastern Highlands Plantation company uses a new model of brushcutters," she said.

"We have also not been able to find spares for the broken down machines," said Mr Sanhanga.

He said the association needed 15 new cutters to enable farmers to speedily work in their fields.

Mr Sanhanga said harvesting of the crop will continue throughout winter, although it will be done once a month instead of three times every month. The association has about 900 farmers who are registered with the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union Manicaland chapter.

During peak season, (November to April) production usually averages 200 000kg per month. The figures drop significantly between May and October, when farmers will be pruning the crop. Total production in 2018 stood at 1,8 million kilogrammes.
- the herald
Tags: Tea,


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