According to statistics from the Central Bank of Rwanda, tea exports for 2015 increased in both value and volume. The beverage recorded 40 per cent growth in earning to almost $73 million (about Rwf57.2 billion) in 2015, up from $52 million in 2014.
The central bank indicated that the earnings were supported by the increase in tea prices over the period. Tea was at $3.02 per kilo at the Mombasa auction last week, up from $2.43 per kilo during previous auction. However, the beverage’s prices are projected to drop on the account of increased supply. Rwanda exports its teas through the Mombasa auction.
The country exports 21.5 per cent of its teas to the UK, 21.2 per cent goes to Pakistan, 16 per cent to Egypt, 15.6 per cent to Yemen, and 10.6 per cent to Somalia, among others.
Government is counting on its major cash crops (coffee and tea), as well as horticultural produce to boost export revenues following a global price decline for major minerals. In 2015, total exports recorded poor performance, dropping by 6.8 per cent in value to stand at $558.8 million, a drop from $599.8 million in 2014, but volumes increased by 20.5 per cent.
Overall, commodity prices are expected to continue declining throughout 2016 as oversupply is expected to persist, particularly for oil and metals. Volumes exported over the recording period were up 8.9 per cent, with tea production from the July 2015-April 2016 period recorded at 21.7 million kilogrammes, higher than 20.8 million kilos during the same period in 2014/2015, which is an increase of 913,131 kilogrammes.
Rwanda cashed in $929,389 (about Rwf745.4 million) during last week’s tea auction at Mombasa, which is a drop from $942,349 (about Rwf755.8 million) fetched the previous week.
The country sold 308,628 kilogrammes of tea compared to 388,196kg sold during the previous auction, a report from the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) has indicated. Rwanda’s tea export receipts rose to $18.8 million (Rwf14.9 billion) during the first three months of 2016, up from $17.7 million during the same period last year. According NAEB, Rwanda exported 6,811,095 million kilos of tea during the first quarter of the year, fetching $18.8 million.
This was largely attributed to new plants that came on line; Muganza Kivu Tea Factory in Nyaruguru District, Southern Province, and other three processing plants in Karongi, Mushubi, and Rutsiro that “were instrumental in encouraging farmers to increase production and quality”. NAEB targets to increase tea export earnings to $94.9 million by 2018.