Limpopo tea estate back to production
Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana says the approach used to rehabilitate Tshivhase Tea Estate in Limpopo will be replicated at other tea plantations in the other provinces.
Xingwana said this yesterday at Tshivhase Tea Estate when she handed over the rehabilitated tea plantation at Phiphidi, outside Thohoyandou, to Kennedy Midiyavhathu Tshivhase, who represents the Tshivhase community.
The Department of Agriculture spent R63million rehabilitating the tea plantation that was left bushy when Sapekoe (Pty) Ltd left, probably indicating that the black tea market was no longer profitable.
Xingwana said she was convinced that the system used to revive tea production in the province was the best.
She promised that the Makgobaskloof tea plantation would also be rehabilitated. Makgobaskloof estate collapsed and remained bushy when Sapekoe withdrew.
"We will use this module to rehabilitate other plantations in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and other areas. Those plantations need rehabilitation," Xingwana said.
The government has entered into agreements with Kenyan and Tanzanian experts to revive collapsed South African plantations.
Xingwana said her department planned to set up processing plants in other provinces.
The Tshivhase tea factory is expected to process 2,4 million kilograms of black tea a year, while the Tshivhase Territorial Council hoped to make a profit when the product hits the shelves in June.
The packaged tea is said to have attracted interest in Malaysia and the Middle East.
Xingwana praised the government initiative to revive tea plantations and said their tea was healthy and good for consumers.
Tshivhase was delighted that they had managed to rehire thousands of workers.