By Elias Hakizimana.
The National Agriculture Export Development Board (NAEB) has announced that it will generate $92 million from made tea exports during the next fiscal year 2018-2019, according to the institution’s officials.
The board disclosed that this achievement will be a success thanks to marketing strategy gains from promoting Rwanda tea brand through sponsoring the 10th edition of International Cycling Competition known as Tour Du Rwanda that will be launched on 5th August, 2018 in Kigali with the theme: “Rwanda Tea-A Natural Reawakening.”
In the last fiscal year 2017/2018, NAEB exported 27,824 metric tonnes of tea to 48 countries from Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Europe which earned Rwanda US$88 million.
It will be the second time for NAEB to sponsor cycling game as they also did the same in November 2017 for the 9th edition of the cycling competition.
According to Issa Nkurunziza, the tea division manager at NAEB, promoting Rwanda Tea will increase awareness of quality and value of Rwanda tea worldwide.
Nkurunziza said that so far it was a problem that 75 percent of Rwanda was sold in auction in Mombasa-Nairobi, 23 to 24 percent was bought through the NAEB’s Memorandum of Understanding with buyers while only 1.7 percent is currently sold on Rwandan market.
“The first interest of our sponsorship to the Tour Du Rwanda is to encourage Rwandans to like Tea as it is life, we will dress Rwanda Tea Brand Ti-shirt to the best combative rider, meaning that he is the one with good health, energetic. This will target to make awareness of Rwanda tea brand to the worldwide.
He said that when tea is bought in auction deprives the value of Rwanda tea brand as buyers name it other name and sell it again.
Currently, the area that is under tea plantation is 26,897 hectares with 42,840 farmers who are daily involved in tea business, 16 operational tea factories with three projects in pipeline working in 20 cooperatives.
In the last fiscal year, NAEB exported 27,824 metric tonnes of made tea to 48 countries namely Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Europe which in return generated US$88 million.
The sector also is employing 69,811 workers in the sector including casual and permanent, with ratio of 40% of male and 60% females.
“As a way forward we are planning to achieve 21,000 metric tonnes of made tea for this coming fiscal year and we are expecting to earn from that target $92 million,” Nkurunziza noted.
The launch of Rwanda Tea Brand last year together with other factors yielded a positive impact to Rwandan tea sector as the exports for 2017/18 year increased by 15 percent as compared to 2016/17 and it is believed that the increase is backed by the brand promotional activities according to NAEB.
Amb. George William Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer of NAEB stressed the contribution of Rwanda Tea in The Tour Du Rwanda, saying that fans and cyclists-supporters will witness the uniqueness of Rwanda quality tea and be the ambassadors of its brightness in the world.
“It is our pleasure to cooperate with Rwanda Cycling Federation in making this competition beneficial to participants. Apart from the competition as a main aim of the event, the participants will be able to enjoy the remarkable Rwanda with its many breath taking green sceneries, touristic attractions and tea plantations by the hillsides given the itinerary of the competition,” Kayonga says.
Tea was introduced in Rwanda in 1961 and is currently grown on 26,897 hectares by 42,840 farmers located in 12 districts of mainly Northern, Western and Southern parts of the country.
Rwanda produces one of the best quality teas in the world being black tea, orthodox tea, white tea, organic tea and spicy teas and the majority of them are exported in raw form.
Rwanda’s tea produce increased from 14,500 tons in 2000 to 25,128 tons in 2016/17. From July 2016 to June 2017, Rwanda fetched $74.5 million while in 2017-2018 the country exported 27,824 metric tons of made in Rwanda tea to 48 countries, generating $88 million.
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