Rwanda’s tea export revenues rise by 12%

Rwanda’s tea export revenues rise by 12%

Rwanda’s tea export revenues generated more than $93 million (over Rwf90 billion) in the fiscal year 2019/2020, representing a 12 percent increase compared to the over $83 million (about Rwf80 billion) fetched in 2018/2019, according to statistics from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).

The statistics also show that tea export volumes increased by 7 percent from more than 30,500 tonnes in 2018/2019 to more than 32,600 tonnes in 2019/2020.

The revenue figures imply a rebound in Rwanda’s tea exports in the financial year that ended in June 2020 as revenues had decreased by 5 per cent from $88 million in 2017/2018 to 83 million in 2018/2019, despite a 10 per cent rise in tea export volumes.

Speaking to The New Times, Pie Ntwari, the NAEB Communication Officer said that factors which drove up the revenues include relatively good prices at the international market last year compared to the previous one, as well as increased production.

“There are new tea plantations which started giving yield. This enabled factories to process more tea for export,” he said, adding that Rwanda has 18 tea processing factories.

In December 2019, NAEB announced that tea farmers will be getting more income following a move allowing them to earn 50 per cent of the price at which a kilogramme of processed tea is sold on the international market.

This reflects 10 percentage points higher compared to 40 per cent that they were receiving on a kilogramme before.

More interest by farmers

Aloys Ndashimye, President of COOTHEMUKI, a cooperative of tea farmers in Nyaruguru District told The New Times that farmers have started earning more income thanks to such a decision.

He indicated that the increase in tea prices at the export markets is an encouragement to farmers, the country’s tea sector and economy.

“Given the value they see in tea, some farmers have expressed interest in the tea crop and want to expand their plantations,” he said.

Léonidas Munyaneza, the manager of COOPTHE Mulindi, a tea farmers’ cooperative in Gicumbi District, said that tea farmers’ revenues have been increasing from 30 percent of made tea price around 2012 to 50 percent currently.

“Now, farmers and tea processors get equal share of the tea revenues. The increased prices and income are a motivation to farmers,” he said.

Rwanda outcompetes other member countries of the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) in fetching premium tea prices at the Mombasa tea auction according to available information.

EATTA is a voluntary organisation bringing together tea producers, buyers (exporters), brokers, tea packers and warehouses. It has 10 member Countries namely Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, DR Congo, Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique.

By 2024, Rwanda expects to produce 65,099 tonnes of tea and generate $209 million through exports, according to NAEB.