Export receipts from tea increased to over $33.5 million by June this year, projecting a positive year for the country’s second largest cash crop. From January to May, last year, the commodity fetched $31 million.
However, volumes dropped by one million kilogrammes to 10 million, from January to May this year, up from 11 million during the same period last year due to poor rains that affected harvests.
“The increase is as result of improvement in quality despite reduction in volumes which resulted in an increase of around five cents,” Dr Ndambe Nzaramba, deputy Director General of National Agricultural Export Board-NAEB told Business Times.
Ndambe said that there has been an improvement in the quality of tea, thereby attracting higher prices on the international market, hence the marked increase in export receipts.
Rwanda’s tea saw a price increase per kilo, from $ 2.64 in January this year, with May and June fetching the highest prices of $2.96 and $ 2.98, respectively, before closing at $2.82 in that quarter.
Ndambe predicted that the improvement in quality is likely to help the commodity fetch higher export receipts before the end of the year.
“What we are looking at is quality and that is what our tea is known for on the international market,” he said.
Oswald Munyaneza, a farmer from Ruhango District, says that farmers have been struggling to improve production and quality by increasing the amount of fertilisers, thus increasing their incomes.
According to statistics from NAEB, all the country’s 11 eleven tea producers registered positive performance with Mulindi and Shagasha tea factories fetching $2.99 million and $ 1.6 million, respectively.
Gishakura tea factory fetched $3 million, while Mata and Gisovu realised $2.7 million and US$ 4.7 million, respectively.
Pfunda, Nyabihu and Rubaya tea factories fetched $3.2 million, $1.7 million, and $3.5 million, respectively, while Nshili, Sorrwathe and Kitabi earned $ 2.08 million, $4.4 million, and $ 3.3million, in that order.