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Price of tea better as demand increases – Farmers

Farmers in Taraba State have revealed that there is high demand for raw and processed tea in the country, saying the situation has made farming…

Farmers in Taraba State have revealed that there is high demand for raw and processed tea in the country, saying the situation has made farming very lucrative.

This was disclosed by some tea farmers in Nguroje and Kakara area of Sardauna Local Government of the state.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, the farmers said there were over 300 small and large scale tea farmers called out-growers earning a living.

Buba Galadima one of the large scale tea farmers around the Kakara area where the Highland Tea Company is located, said the price of one kilogram of raw tea leaf was sold at the rate of N700.

He revealed that the current price doubled that of previous years.

He said one of the main buyers of raw tea was Highland Tea Company, which bought from farmers on a weekly basis at the rate of N700 per kilogram.

Galadima said he inherited tea farming from his late father, Ardo Gori, who was among the first farmers in Mambilla Plateau.

He said tea production was introduced by two Italians in 1975, while the land where the Tea Estate at Kakara village is situated was donated by his father.

He also said proper tea production started at Highland Tea in 1982 in Kakara village.

He further revealed that buyers of raw tea from Kano, Maiduguri and Lagos were always coming to buy from farmers on a daily basis.

He said farmers had the right to sell their raw tea to any buyer, but added that Highland Tea Company gives better prices than other buyers.

Another farmer, Bello Dauda, also told the Daily Trust on Sunday that those in the business of processing tea make more money than the farmers.

He said tea farming was capital-intensive, adding that it would take a period of two to three years from planting to when a farmer would start harvesting raw tea for sell.

Bello Dauda also said a farmer would require fertiliser and weeding chemical for a period of three years before he starts making money.

He lamented that tea farmers were not getting intervention in terms of input subsidy as is the case with farmers of other crops like rice and maize.

Buba Galadima said the planned sale of Highland Tea Company by the Taraba State Government, which the host community rejected, was ill motivated. He said many issues were supposed to be resolved before any action would be taken on the company.

He revealed that wealthy individuals, including his late father, bought shares in the company about 30 years ago but they were not paid any dividend, even till this moment despite the huge profit the company is making.

“Highland Tea Company is making huge profit but its shareholders are not taken care of. That’s why the state government wants to sell the company,” he said.

A key stakeholder in the area, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, also said the plan to sell the tea company was ill motivated as it is making huge profit.

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