Tea production in Malawi, Africa’s largest producer of the leaf after Kenya, declined 3.2 percent during the first quarter, the Reserve Bank said.

Output between January and the end of March fell to 20.9 million kilograms from 21.6 million kilograms a year earlier, the Lilongwe-based central bank said in a report published on its website today. It didn’t give a reason for the decline.

Earnings from sales of the leaf dropped to $2.6 million from $2.9 million during the period because of increased supplies of the leaf in Kenya, the bank said.

Tea is Malawi’s second-largest foreign exchange earner, after tobacco, generating 8 percent of total export earnings. The U.K. is typically the largest buyer of tea from Malawi.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frank Jomo in Blantyre at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at [email protected]

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