Due to its higher quality, Rwanda’s tea sold at a premium at the Mombasa Tea Auction last week, overshadowing price offers on Kenyan produce.
Mombasa is the second-largest black tea auction centre in the world after Colombo, Sri-Lanka.
The price of the best Rwandan tea (Gisovu) stood at $5.48 a kilo in the sale held last week against Kenya’s $3.42 for the same quantity.
The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) emerged the second-best tea in terms of value at the auction.
Rwanda has often led when it comes to the best tea, fetching a premium price compared with others from the region and beyond.
According to the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), Rwanda teas earned highest prices for three main grades as shown here below:
1. BP1 = $ 5.48 Gisovu
2. PF1 = $ 3.18 Kitabi
3. PD = $ 3.42 Kagwe (Kenya)
4. D1 = $ 3.11 Rubaya
The Gisovu Tea Company Limited, located in Karongi District in the Western Province.
The quality of Rwandan tea has always been high, this being the only reason why it always attracts a premium price.
In August 2019 at the East African Tea Traders Association (EATTA) auction in Mombasa, Gisovu tea factory came second selling at $5.97 (approximately Rwf4,500) per kilogram overshadowing famous pioneers of high-quality producers from Uganda and Kenya.
Pie Ntwari, the NAEB spokesperson, told The New Times that Rwandan tea is grown in "highlands with very fertile soils."
The government, through NAEB, Ntwari stressed, has emphasised the continuous enhancement of quality and standards.
He said: "We don't use chemical fertilisers and that ensures that it retains a natural and organic quality. That's the difference compared to other teas."
"Another thing is that our tea pluckers are regularly trained; and they do their job with skill because ensuring quality of tea starts right from seedlings preparation and on to the plucking and so on."
All the regional teas are marketed at the Mombasa auction by the East African Tea Traders Association before being shipped out.
Kenya, which is the leading tea exporter in the world.
The east African country leads the auction in terms of volumes with more than three quarters of the produce traded coming in from the country.
In Rwanda, tea growing has expanded steadily since its introduction in 1952.
According to NAEB, by the end of financial year 2018/2019, local producers exported 30.573 metric tons and generated $83,552,108 from a total area of 27,112 hectares.
By 2024, NAEB expects a total volume of 65,099 metric tons of Rwanda Tea to be exported and generate $209 million in earnings.
NAEB has put in place strategies to grow export volumes and revenues from the cash crop.
These include mobilizing more investors in the tea sector, promoting the Rwanda tea brand on national, regional and international level, adopting direct sales and e-auction as an alternate solution to competitively seek better prices on markets.Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames