Rwanda tea authority (OCIR-THE) has said that the sector has registered the highest performance in the first quarter of this year of up to $17.4 million compared to the previous three years as a result of good climate.
According to Corneille Ntakirutimana, the head of planning and strategic management at Ocir-the, the production for the first three months was 6.9 million kilograms.
“The record performance in the last three years was due to the good climate coupled with the application of fertilizers that was done on time and the follow up of the process,” said Ntakirutimana.
Tea receipts moved to $17.4 million this quarter up from $10.5 million in 2008 and $11.5 million in 2009 respectively.
“We have achieved more than our set target of $14 million for the first quarter and we are optimistic that the sector will perform better than it did last year,” added Ntakirutimana.
Tea is among Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange earners along with coffee, tourism and mining and its annual revenue projection for this year is $59 million.
Ocir-the is supplied by 15 tea cooperatives but it is expected that before the end of the year three other cooperatives will have joined.
The government through the Ministry of Agriculture has also increased farm gate prices for farmers from Rwf86 per kilogram to Rwf96.
On the international market, tea prices during the first quarter of this year are better than what they were last year same period, standing at $2.7 per kilogram compared to $2.5 last year.
Rwanda exports most of its tea to the Arab world including Sudan, Egypt, Dubai, Afghanistan as well as Europe to the United Kingdom and Russia.
However, the sector still faces a challenge in value addition of its exports.