Kitabi scoops EATTA best quality tea accolade

Kitabi Tea Factory scooped the East Africa Tea Traders Association (EATTA) best quality tea award at the just concluded Second Africa Tea Convention and Exhibition in Kigali.
RwanAir CEO John Mirenge chats with other guests at the cocktail party. The New Times / Ivan Ngoboka
RwanAir CEO John Mirenge chats with other guests at the cocktail party. The New Times / Ivan Ngoboka

Kitabi Tea Factory scooped the East Africa Tea Traders Association (EATTA) best quality tea award at the just concluded Second Africa Tea Convention and Exhibition in Kigali.

Kitabi Tea factory was best in the black CTC tea category with best D1 tea grade and best BP1 tea grade. Karongi Tea Factory had the best PD grade and Gisovu, which was third, scooped the best PF1 tea grade. Sorwathe tea factory was among the best specialty tea winners, winning the best green tea producer award.

Kitabi, Rubaya and Nyabihu tea factories are owned by Rwanda Mountain Tea.

Speaking during a dinner organised to congratulate the company, Francois Kanimba, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said the achievement was a reward for government’s efforts and investment in the sector in the past 10 years.

“I congratulate Rwanda Mountain Tea on achieving this feat, you and other tea producers should continue emphasising quality to make our tea competitive,” he said.

President Paul Kagame had on Thursday, during the official opening of the Second Africa Tea Convention and Exhibition in Kigali, urged tea producers and dealers across Africa to add value to the product to support the continent’s socio-economic development efforts.

Kagame said there was a bright future for the tea market both in Africa and the continent where over 90 per cent of Africa’s teas are consumed.

“We must remain aligned to the important sectors in foreign exchange earnings, generating direct and indirect employment to millions of our people,” he said.

Bonaventure Niyibizi, a consultant with Rwanda Mountain Tea, said since Kitabi Tea’s acquisition in 2009, the main aim was to increase production and develop their plantations most of which has been achieved.

“Harvesting 10,000kg of tea per hectare instead of 5,000kg have been some of the problems we have been trying to solve,” he said.

Niyibizi said the value of their Mombasa tea auction had increased by 86 per cent in value compared to what was sold last year.

“Kitabi has to maintain the best quality at a good price,” he noted.

He explained that selling a kilo at Rwf152 had a direct impact on the livelihood of the tea farmers.

There are currently 14 tea factories in the country with the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB), saying four more will be opening shop during the course of the year.

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