Rwanda’s tea production increased marginally last year, but the country’s annual export earnings dropped, according to the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) monthly report for December 2016.
The report released yesterday indicates that tea output rose marginally by 1.82 per cent to more than 108.3 million kilogrammes in 2016, up from 106.4 million kilos recorded in 2015. However, the sector’s export receipts declined to $63.42 million over the period, down from $72.86 million earned in 2015, indicating a $9.44 million or 12.96 drop compared to revenue recorded in 2015.
NAEB attributed the decline to low volumes (24.41 million kilogrammes) of ‘made’ tea sold in 2016 against over 24.78 million kilogrammes in 2015, as well as a drop in the global market price to $2.60 per kilo, down from $2.94 per kilo in 2015. There was also a decline of 18.41 per cent in tea production year-on-year in December 2016 compared to the same period the previous year on account of prolonged drought the country experienced last year, NAEB added.
Rwanda recorded an estimated 6,977mm of rain in 2016 compared 8,306mm in 2015, according to figures from the department of metrology.
According to the report, the country’s total tea production for December 2016 stood at over 9.5 million kilogrammes compared to more than 11.6 million kilos recorded during similar period the previous year. This represents 18.41 per cent decline equivalent to about 2.15 million kilogrammes over the month, the report indicated.
The export body attributed this decline to mainly the prolonged drought registered during the period, noting that it affected many tea plantations.
“The damage was more pronounced on big plantations in marshlands, where farmers struggled to meet production targets,” the export body explained.
Almost 1.14 million kilogrammes of ‘made’ tea were auctioned generating $3.31 million in total revenues.
Rwanda also earned $2.71 million from direct sales of more than 827,081 kilos of tea. The beverage was going for $3.28/kg on average. Auction sales revenue represented 55 per cent of total value and direct sales revenue represented 45 per cent of total value, according to NAEB.
Total production of green leaf stood at 43.6 million kilogrammes, down from almost 46.4 million kilogrammes harvested in the same period during 2015, representing a decline of 5.85 per cent.
‘Made’ tea production
Meanwhile, total production of ‘made’ tea stood at 2.29 million kilogrammes in December 2016, lower than 2.72 million kilos in the same time the previous year.