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Rwanda tea exports up

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Rwanda tea output and exports rose in 2015 from a year before, data from the country’s national export body shows.

The National Agriculture Export Board (Naeb) latest statistics indicate that the Central African country’s tea export volumes and revenue grew significantly in the first 11 months of last year.

Data released on Saturday showed that output rose to 22,7 million kilogrammes in 2015 compared with 20,7 million kilogrammes a year earlier, which raked in about US$66,3 million, up from US$47,3 million recorded during the same period in 2014.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Issa Nkurunziza, the head of tea division at Naeb, said the agency intensified efforts to improve the quality of the leaf.

“We have ensured that individual farmers and cooperatives get the best training in tea farming skills and post storage handling techniques which boosted tea production,” he said.

Nkurunziza attributed the increase in value to good prices at the Mombasa auction over the reporting period, which averaged US$2,92 per kilo, a slight increase from the average price of US$2,2 per kilo in 2014. Rwanda sells tea at the Mombasa auction.

The National Agricultural Export Development Board has intensified its campaign to boost coffee and tea since these cash crops fetch high prices on the international market.

Rwanda is diversifying its two main cash crops — tea and coffee — in a bid to increase exports and achieve its export promotion strategy.