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500,000 hectares designated for tea plantation in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua): Ethiopia announced Saturday the designation of farmlands covering a total of 500,000 ha. in four regional states.
The newly designated farmlands for tea development are in Oromia, South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP), Amhara and Gambella regional states, said Isayas Kebede, head of coffee, tea and spices development department with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. He told journalists that tea leaves are being grown currently by Ethio-Agriseft and East Africa Holdings with an annual harvest not exceeding 6,000 tons.
Of the annual harvest, he said 4,500 tons are being consumed locally, which further undermines the potentially significant foreign currency earnings from tea.
Efforts are underway, however, to boost the volume of tea exports and to increase the number of export destinations for Ethiopian tea, he said.
Isayas said the number of investors, showing interest to engage in the sector, has been growing.
He said numerous investors, including international statured Indian companies, have applied to engage in tea development in Ethiopia.
One Indian company would soon launch production on 10,000 ha. of land, which would double the national production volume, he added.
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