From 2004 to 2009, the Tea Research Foundation of Central Africa implemented 11 out of 12 planned research projects based on its Strategic Plan for 2002 – 2007.
The major source of income for the Tea Research Foundation is a cess levied on production of tea by all estates who are members of the Foundation. The cess levy is by act of Parliament of the Governments of Malawi and Zimbabwe. The rate is determined from time to time by the Board of Trustees of the Tea Association of Malawi and Zimbabwe Tea Growers Association. The Foundation also generates extra income from sale of green leaf from its own tea fields leased to tea companies. By leasing its tea fields to the tea estates, the Foundation is not detracted from its core function of conducting research by managing tea fields. The other source of income is sale of Newsletters and some reports.
Income levels from cess payment are affected by all factors that affect tea production by tea growers. An increase in production leads increases in income and the converse is true. For this reason, prudent management of income for the Foundation is crucial to its survival and to ensure that all research activities determined by its members are implemented. The Foundation has therefore all institutional set up that this is objective is achieved.
A Board of Trustees with its sub-committees oversees the activities of the Foundation. The Finance and Appointment Committee of the Board of Trustees has been entrusted with the responsibility of financial management of the Foundation and the Research Committee with the responsibilities of research programmes. These two Committees advise management on all relevant matters concerning finances and research programmes.
To supplement on its sources of income, the Foundation has in the past sought donor funding of some of its research projects from the European Union, Department of Foreign and International Affairs (DFID) and other donors. This is very important because its core source of funds cannot meet all expenses to implement the demand driven research programmes.