How To Start Tea Farming Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide

How To Start A Lucrative Tea Farming Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide | Image: Pixabay

Tea is a popular beverage grown from the plant Camellia Sinensis and provides a significant source of revenue for tea producing countries around the world. It is widely cultivated across the continents of Asia, especially in countries like China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Africa, a few countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Malawi are tea production nations.

China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia account for 77% of tea production globally. Tea is considered the primary component of the world beverage market. The consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world, including coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and alcohol put together.

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Between 2017 and 2018, global tea supply out-spaced the demands of the past years at a rate of 4.3% and 4.4% respectively. The result was a surplus of approximately 200 million tonnes for both years. On average, total tea production was estimated at 5.98 million tonnes, of which about 35% worth USD 8 billion was exported. According to the FAO, the tea sector is projected to increase at an annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 4 to 5.5% from 2017 to 2024 and projected to reach USD 73 billion in retail value by 2024.

Tea production in Africa has grown tremendously over the years, with South Africa producing about 30% of the world’s global export rate to a tune of 514,742 tonnes of tea. In Nigeria, tea contributes significantly to the economic development of tea growing communities, especially in the Northeastern part of the country — Taraba and Plateau state, respectively. From available information, the first tea plant was introduced in Nigeria around 1952, and commercial tea planting kicked off in 1982. Nigeria produces a particular breed of tea known as the black tea with the CTC method of farming, labelled high tea. However, it does not produce much for export.

The average tea production in Nigeria is at an estimate of 1,640 tonnes annually, which meets only about 10% of its domestic needs. Due to the speciality of the tea plant, cultivation can only happen across certain specific regions in Nigeria, and that is why it is not widely grown as other crops.

By highlighting the scope, problems and processing of tea farming in this article, we hope you gain more insight on how you can successfully begin your own tea farming business in Nigeria.

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What Is Tea?

Tea is the beverage produced by boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. All teas worldwide are produced from this plant. Camellia Sinensis is of the species of the evergreen shrubs or small trees in the family of Theaceae. It’s the processing of the teas that give us different teas with different aromas, colours and tastes.

 

What is Tea farming?

Tea farming involves all the process of farming the tea plant from the plantation stage to harvesting and actual processing. Usually, the tea plant is cultivated in large quantities with an expanse of land spanning over thousands of acres. The best teas are grown over steep slopes with a deep loose soil at high altitudes over subtropical climates. Harvesting is usually done twice in a year. The first rush of the harvest is during the early spring while the second is during the summer. Meanwhile, the tea plant must be pruned continuously during the early stages to ensure that they reach maximum yield.

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Business Opportunities Associated With Tea Farming in Nigeria

1). Tea production:

The Camellia Sinensis plant is commonly used in the production of a wide variety of teas such as the white tea, green tea, black tea, yellow teas and so on, all of which have high demand globally and form a sustainable business for the tea farmer.

2). Packaging of the seedlings:

Business opportunities are always readily opened for packaging industries responsible for packaging goods into end products for sale. Tea processing essentially requires packaging in terms of bagging and wrapping to come off as finished produce.

3). Tea trading:

A large market awaits the seller of tea products as there is a rise in the demand for beverages globally. It, therefore, promises a significant return on investment for the trader.

 

Facts and benefits of Tea Farming

  • Tea contains antioxidants which help to fight off diseases.
  • Tea is generally healthier and contains fewer levels of caffeine than coffee.
  • Green tea contains the amino acid known as L-theanine, which works with caffeine to improve cognitive abilities.
  • Tea lowers the levels of inflammation and inflammatory reactions.
  • Active compounds in tea may help to reduce the rate of heart attack and stroke.
  • Tea improves general body metabolism.
  • Certain teas with specialised functions aid in weight loss.
  • Tea wards off stress and improves the mood.
  • Teas are good for digestive health since they help to soften the bowels.
  • Hot teas help to keep the body metabolism up during unfavourable conditions.
  • Tea is considered the primary component of the world beverage market.
  • The first tea plant was introduced in Nigeria around 1952, and commercial tea planting kicked off in 1982.
  • Nigeria produces a particular breed of tea known as the black tea.
  • Both green tea and black tea are derived from the same plant.
  • There are about 3000 different varieties of tea.
  • Tea is second only to water as far as global consumption is concerned.
  • China, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Vietnam are some of the biggest producers of tea worldwide.
  • In Nigeria, tea is grown widely in the Northern region, particularly in states such as Taraba and Plateau.
  • Tea came into the UK in the 17th century but did not become popular until the 19th century
  • In the 18th century, a French doctor warned that excessive tea could be dangerous to health.

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Types of Tea

Two primary varieties of the tea plant exist from which all types of teas are produced, and they are;

1). Camellia Sinensis Sinensis:

This is the Chinese variety widely grown in China,l. It has small leaves and is more adaptable to cold weather. White teas, yellow teas, green teas, black teas and oolong tea are all produced from this specie.

2). Camellia Sinensis Assamica:

This is the species most native to the people of India. It has larger leaves than the Chinese variety. It is more likely to thrive in tropical areas and low elevation. The plant is similarly used in the producing of black teas as well as the famous “Pu’er” tea in India. There are roughly a thousand five hundred cultivars derived from the two main varieties produced for consumption.

 

How To Starting a Tea Farming Business in Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide

To begin the tea farming business in Nigeria, here are the things you need to put in place:

1. Conduct necessary research:

The role research plays in all projects, especially in the agro sector, cannot be watered down. You must allocate adequate time to research and learn a whole lot about this type of business before you proceed. You can use either source for information from the web or consult the local library near you. Alternatively, you can seek professional insight from experts in the field.

2. Get the necessary training:

The next vital step to take would be to get the recommended practice in the field. Executing this step will probably involve going to a tea farm to see how things are done. You are sure to get some vital first hands lessons on how to make your farm worthwhile.

3. Determine what type of tea plant you want to grow:

The next step is to determine the variety of tea you want to cultivate. It is paramount that you learn how different teas are grown, then decide on which to cultivate.

4. Get land space:

If you are looking to venture into tea farm business on a small scale, you should consider acquiring a little piece of land. On the contrary, if you are looking to target more people, then buying more farmland would be vital. Make sure that the soil is well-drained and sandy because the tea plant only thrives on such land.

5. Hire labour:

If you know you do not know much about framing tea, then it becomes mandatory that you hire experienced personnel to help you resolve this issue. There are a vast majority of farmers who would be willing to assist a starter out on his farm.

6. Source for tea seeds:

The next step after acquiring a piece of land is to purchase your tea seeds from a local nursery store. After this is done, you can proceed to the next step.

7. Plant your tea:

After you have done your due diligence with the other steps, you can go ahead to plant your tea. Adequate care must be taken so that all the procedures of planting are strictly adhered to.

8. Follow up and wait:

Harvesting wouldn’t follow until three years. Be involved in your farm always to see that all is going well. Ensure regular pruning. During the harvesting season, be sure you carry out the harvest on time so that you do not run at a loss.

9. Advertise and market:

This is one of the most critical steps in tea farming. It is particularly essential as you would need buyers to make a profit. Before the tea is ready to be harvested, you should evaluate your potential market and the best ways to sell your product.

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Challenges of Tea farming Business in Nigeria

  • Tea farming production ifs fraught with several challenges which include:
  • The waterlogging of the soil surface, which is detrimental to the tea plant, affects the yield.
  • Lack of quality fertilisers.
  • Climate changes and poor weather conditions also hamper the growth of the plant.
  • Financial difficulties
  • Pest and diseases issue.
  • Tea plants take a long time before bringing yields
  • Limited scientific research into the methods of producing tea
  • Tea farming requires a lot of labour
  • Tea farming demands lots of maintenance
  • Limited marketing strategies among local farmers
  • Imbalance in the international trade of tea
  • Lack of adequate storage facilities for unprocessed tea

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To Sum It Up

Reports from the FAO predicts that tea consumption and production will keep rising over the next decade, driven by an enormous demand in developing and emerging countries. It certainly will create new rural income opportunities and improve food security in tea-producing countries. Nigeria ought to tap into this vast material to increase its value export goods and boost her economy.

The tea farming business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the tea farming business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.

 

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