Rwanda’s tea export earnings have more than doubled in the first quarter of 2016, rising from US$7.1mn in 2015 to US$18.8mn
According to a report by the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB), Rwanda exported 6,811,095mn kg of tea during the first quarter of the year, fetching about US$18.8mn. The increase in export is largely attributed to the establishment of Muganza Kivu tea factory in Nyaruguru district and three other processing plants in Karongi, Mushubi, and Rutsiro.
Another reason for the improved performance is attributed to the efforts by the agro-exports body and stakeholders, particularly in terms of investments in farm input distribution and value addition.
NAEB projects production to increase to 3,000 tonnes of dry tea per annum on average. The board aims to raise tea export earnings to US$94.9mn by 2018. To this end, the board has drafted a new tea leaf handling model to boost quality along the value chain and strengthen the sector’s competitiveness.
The UK is a major buyer of Rwanda’s tea, accounting 21.46 per cent of total tea exports, while 21.16 per cent goes to Pakistan, 16 per cent to Egypt, 15.6 per cent to Yemen and 10.6 per cent to Somalia, among other destinations. The Rwandan government is counting on major cash and horticultural crops to boost exports following a global price decline in major minerals.