African Tea Research Center Hires New Director

MULANJE, Malawi

The non-profit Tea Research Foundation of Central Africa (TRFCA) has named Albert Changaya, Ph.D to head its research center.

Changaya told the Daily Times (Malawi) that research is ongoing by nature and he will continue the work of predecessor Suzgo Kumwenda, who leaves the post after seven years.

During his tenure the foundation has been recognized not only in Malawi but also in countries such as Zimbabwe for its profitable tea research.

"Through the foundation, we managed to make Malawi tea unique with a rare flavor. The uniqueness of the tea is what attracts foreign producers as they use Malawi tea for blending," Changaya was reported as saying.

The center’s financing is private through a fee for each kilo of tea produced by growers in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The center, which was established in 1929, develops technology and plant science for member growers. It began its work as the Thyolo Tea Research Center in southern Malawi. Five years later it was financed by The Tea Association of Nyasaland under government direction. In 1959 growers once again took over the center and in 1966 rechristened it the TRFCA.

In a Daily News interview the new director said he would like TRFCA to develop superior tea cultivars that are high yielding, drought tolerant and resistant to major diseases and pests.

“I would like tea growers and processors to regard TRFCA as a first point of reference in any situation they may encounter. TRFCA should be a user-friendly organisation not only to tea growers and processors but also to other research institutions in the country and the region as a whole,” he said.

Previous posts include Officer-In-Charge of Mwimba Research Station where Changaya managed the Methyl Bromide Phase-out Project and served as Head of Research and Technical Services. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding with the African Centre for Crop Improvement under the University of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa.

Source: The Daily Times (Malawi)

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