Ugandan lawmakers here on study tour

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Hon. Alex Ruhunda head of Ugandan delegation (C) speaks during the meeting with MPs in parliament yesterday. Nadege Imbabazi.

A delegation of Ugandan legislators are in the country for a four-day study tour seeking to learn best practices that can help boost the quality of tea in the neighbouring country.

The delegation, all members of the committee on tourism, trade, industry and cooperatives, yesterday paid a courtesy call on Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa, after meeting their Rwandan counterparts in the committee in charge of trade and economy.

According to Alex Ruhunda, the head of the delegation, Rwandan tea has stood out on the global market.

“We are looking at the value chain of tea; when we witnessed the auction in Mombasa, Kenya, we were surprised to see that Rwandan tea fetches the highest price,” he said.

“That challenged us, and we had to come and see what special things Rwanda is doing to ensure that they have the best tea,” he added.

Ruhunda said the interactive meeting held with their counterparts was fruitful, especially in streamlining the role of parliament in setting up a legal framework that allows for the tea industry to flourish.

According to MP Juliana Kantengwa, the deputy chairperson of the Standing Committee on Trade and Economy, Rwandan tea is mainly a product of the efforts put in its preparation.

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Juliana Kantengwa deputy chairperson of trade and economy committee speaks as Gabriel semasaka (C) And Eugene Balikana (L) listens. Nadege Imbabazi

Rwanda produces about 25.6 million kilogrammes of tea per year and exports 72 per cent of it.

While the country seeks to expand plantation acreage to 18000 hectares by 2018, the total annual revenues from tea alone is $63.4 million (about Rwf52 billion).

The Ugandan delegation is expected to visit several institutions in charge of promotion of cash crops like National Agricultural and Export Development Board.

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