The Tanzania Tea Auction is grappling with a stark reality as 88 percent of the total tea offered this week found no takers, underscoring a gloomy performance in the market.

In its third auction since reopening, the auction, which had been deemed as the biggest competitor for the Mombasa Tea Auction, faced a notable downturn, leaving sellers and buyers alike in a state of concern.

A total of 980 packages, equivalent to 47,066 kilos, were put up for sale during the auction. However, the distressing outcome unfolded as a mere 12 percent of this substantial offering found buyers.

“There was less demand at low levels for the 980 packages (47,066 kilos) offered for sale this week with 88 percent remaining unsold,” says a report from the auction.

The ramifications of this low uptake on the market’s overall health and the livelihoods of tea producers loom large, casting a shadow over the industry’s immediate future.

The despondent figures reflect a challenging landscape for tea sellers, with a considerable portion of the BP1 grade offerings failing to attract interest at the anticipated levels.

Several lots of this grade were unceremoniously withdrawn due to low bids, signaling a lack of enthusiasm among potential buyers.

The muted response to the BP1 grade added to the overarching sentiment of uncertainty that prevailed throughout the auction.

In contrast, the PF1 grade managed to garner attention, albeit under circumstances marked by conservative bidding.

The low bids for PF1 hovered above $40 cents from valuation, hinting at a cautious approach adopted by buyers amidst the prevailing market conditions. While PF1 found some traction, other grades, such as PF and BMFs, faced neglect during the sale proceedings.

Interestingly, the BMFs grade experienced a complete lack of inquiry, indicating a specific hesitancy or lack of interest from buyers.

The absence of engagement with this particular grade raises questions about the market’s sentiment towards BMFs tea, and stakeholders may need to delve deeper into the dynamics at play.

As the Tanzania Tea Auction grapples with these challenging results, stakeholders and industry experts are left contemplating the factors that contributed to the dismal performance.

Tanzania, which has been relying on Mombasa tea auction for decades, opened its own auction last month and restricted exports of tea to other markets or auctions.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org