Rwanda’s tea production increased by 1.34 per cent over the last one year, a new report by the National Agriculture Export Board (Naeb) has shown.
According to report, the country’s green leaf production increased to 69,962,331kgs in July 2016, up from 67,703,004kgs over the same period in 2015.
The export body largely attributes the increase to new entrants into the market, especially Karongi, Mushubi and Rustiro districts.
The new players helped open new tea factories while they were also instrumental in expanding tea plantations in the said districts.
According to Naeb, production for July 2016 alone stood at 1,329,359kgs.
This means that national tea production increased by more than 213,707 kg, reflecting an increase of 1.34 per cent.
Meanwhile, Rwanda’s total tea export revenues declined to $40,946,236 cumulatively in July 2016, down from $45,183,113 the same period 2015.
The decline is largely attributed to a drop in tea prices globally.
Internationally tea prices averaged $2.54 kg down from $2.85 a year ago.
In July, Rwanda earned more than $2,968,871 through Mombasa tea auctions compared to $1,739,695 earned from direct sales.
On average, prices increased to about $2.85 per kilo during the 2015/16 fiscal year compared to $2.48 per kilo the previous year.
The country exported more than 14.4 million kilos of ‘made tea’ since January this year alone fetching more than $36.2 million. Over 26.3 million kilogrammes of ‘made tea’ were produced between July 2015 and June 2016 compared to 25.6 million kilos recorded over a similar period the previous financial year, indicating an increase of 2.46 per cent.
Overall, tea prices continued to rise over the recent months, but are projected to drop on the account of increasing supply.
To enhance the beverage quality and make the sector more competitive, NAEB drafted a new tea leaf handling model along the value chain.
The agricultural exports agency is also seeking new markets for the country’s tea to increase exports.
UK buys 21.46 per cent of Rwanda’s total tea exports, with 21.16 per cent going to Pakistan, while 16 per cent goes Egypt. Another 15.6 per cent is sold to Yemen while 10.6 per cent is consumed in Somalia.
Rwanda’s total export revenue dropped by 6.8 per cent last year to $558.8 million, down from $599.8 million in 2014.