Rwanda’s tea exports rise by 8 percent

Rubaya Tea plantation in Ngororero District. Sam Ngendahimana

Rwandan tea export revenues from July to November 2019 increased by 8 percent to over Rwf33.2 billion ($36 million) from Rwf30.8 billion (over $33.5 million) recorded in the same period of the previous year, the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) has announced.

In the same period, NAEB said, Rwanda's total 'made tea' – processed tea – exports rose by 4 percent from 12,180 tonnes in 2018 to 12,617 tonnes in 2019.


Talking about the factors that contributed to such growth, NAEB pointed out that the good performance was driven by the expanded (newly producing) tea plantations, implementation of good practices in tea growing, as well as regular training for farmers.


Others are timely and appropriate application of fertilisers and good rains recorded in the tea growing zone in 2019, it added.


Speaking to Sunday Times, Shyaka Helmenegilde, Coordinator of Rwanda Tea Farmers’ Cooperative Federation (FERWACOTHE) said that the higher volumes of exported tea is in line with the increased tea leave produce.

“Production improvement and good prices increase revenues to the farmer and to the country’s economy,” he said.

He indicated that it is a good indicator that Rwanda’s tea is getting good prices, citing the recent record-high prices – over $7 a kilogramme – which top four tea brands from Rwanda received at Mombasa tea auction in Kenya.

At that auction held in October 2019, tea processed by Nyabihu Tea Factory sold at a record price of $7.22 (about Rwf6,624.89) per kilogramme, followed with Gisovu with $7.16; Kitabi $7.20 and Rubaya $7.06 a kilogramme, according to information from NAEB.

Figures from the 2018/2019 annual report by NAEB show that tea export revenue decreased by 5 percent from $88 million in 2017/2018 to $83 million in 2018/2019.

However, its exports volumes increased by 10 percent from 27,000 tonnes to 30,000, implying a decline in prices at international markets.

Projections from NAEB indicate that Rwanda targets to generate $102 million (about Rwf93 billion) from tea exports in the 2019/2020 financial year, up from $83 million it earned in the financial year 2018/2019.

Tea is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country and is exported to more than 48 countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, according to NAEB.

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