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VENTURES AFRICA – The National Agricultural Exports Board (NAEB) has revealed Rwanda’s tea export volume jumped 86.9 percent to 1,752.1 tonnes last November from 937.2 tonnes in the previous month as a result of more crop yields fuelled by increased rainfall.
The regulator also said that during the same period, export revenue jumped by at least 72 percent from $2.46m to $4.2 million, selling for around $3 per kilo.
NAEB’s tea unit head, Jean Damascene Gasarabwe,, said that the rise is expected to be sustained through the first half of the year till June when the raining season ends.
During dry seasons, tea output plummets as much as 30 percent.
While coffee stands as Rwanda’s largest export with a 60 percent share of the country’s foreign exchange revenue, tea follows strongly as the second-largest contributing 30 percent to its forex.
Since emerging from a 4-year civil war that ravaged the country, its tea export, with foreign aid and investments from businessmen like Sir Ian Wood, Scotland’s second-richest man, has begun to reach pre-war levels.
In 2011, it exported 20,300 tonnes of tea and reached 22,563 tonnes in 2012 while it recorded $61.1 million and $63.9 million in revenues respectively.
Gasarabwe says NAEB is planning to expand tea plantations to increase tea export revenue to $147 million by 2017.
According to The New Times, 60 percent of the tea is sold at the Mombasa auction, 37 percent is purchased by individual buyers, while the remaining is sold locally.