Mozambican Small Tea Growers Take First Place at the First African Specialty Tea Conference and Expo

The African Specialty Tea Conference and Expo, held last month in Nandi County, Kenya, marked a significant milestone for the small tea growers of Mossurize, Mozambique. This inaugural event brought together tea producers across Africa, providing a platform to showcase specialty teas and explore global market opportunities.

“Representing Mossurize at the conference were two farmers, Samuel Marambe and Esitta Simbi. Their participation was made possible through the support of the RECLAIM Sustainability programme in Mozambique," says Nozipho Ndlovu, Regional Programme Manager – Reclaimed Sustainability (RS) at Solidaridad. "Despite the lack of a black tea value addition facility in Mossurize, Marambe and Simbi showcased the potential of their region’s tea. The challenges they face include currency issues, unfavorable prices, and inconvenient payment terms, which have led many farmers to abandon or uproot their tea fields in search of more economically viable crops."

At the conference, the Mozambican tea growers had the opportunity to network with fellow farmers from across Africa, as well as with global tea enthusiasts and experts. Notable interactions included:

  • Benadine Tay from the European Specialty Tea Association (European Tea Society), who highlighted that customers seek an experience when buying specialty tea.
  • Nicholas Despopoulos of zenGate Global, who demonstrated how digital platforms like Palmyra can break market access barriers for small tea growers by offering product traceability and business matchmaking opportunities.
  • Sharyn Johnston of Tea Masters Australia, who stressed the importance of storytelling and creating unique brand names that reflect the origin and heritage of the tea.
african tea expo specialty tea award
Silver Needle tea from Mossurize won first place in the Emerging Specialty Tea Producer’s category.

The Mozambican farmers brought samples of orthodox tea to the expo for the tea tasting and judging event. The Silver Needle tea from Mossurize won first place in the Emerging Specialty Tea Producer’s category. Additionally, Marambe and Simbi shared the story of tea in Mossurize, capturing the interest of various participants keen on sourcing specialty teas from Mozambique.

“Winning first place in the Emerging Specialty Tea Producer’s category with our Silver Needle tea is a testament to the quality and uniqueness of Mozambican tea, which has never received any fertilizer or chemical herbicide," said Simbi. "We are excited to take this knowledge and inspiration back to Mossurize and explore ways to enhance our tea production and market reach."

“This experience has given us hope and motivation to continue growing and improving our tea and not lose hope," said Marambe.

The success of Mossurize’s small tea growers at the African Specialty Tea Conference and Expo underscores the importance of supporting smallholder farmers and their contributions to the global tea industry, a sentiment celebrated globally on International Tea Day (21 May 2024). The achievement of Mozambique tea growers serves as a timeless reminder of the ongoing efforts and potential of African small tea growers in shaping the future of specialty tea.


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