Rwanda is slowly replacing Kenya’s renowned tea produce which has, over time attracted top prices.
Kenya is among the leading tea exporter in the world and it accounts for three-quarter of the produce traded at the Mombasa auction.
However, Rwanda’s tea was highly preferred by international buyers during the Mombasa Tea Action where regional teas are offered for sale before being shipped out of the country.
Over the past months, weekly price offers for Rwanda’s tea have been high as compared to the produce from many outlets of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA).
Rwanda’s top outlet’s, Gisovu factory – broken pekoe-1 (BP1) tea attracted the highest bid of Sh 550 per kilo as compared to Sh 428 per kilo offer from Meru-based Githongo factory (most attractive Kenyan outlet).
“Since the grade of tea is the same across the region, that implies quality is what is creating the price difference, buyers may bid high or low depending on quality,” an executive at the African Tea Brokers, Mr William Tindi, said.
Generally, tea prices are low owing to the huge volumes witnessed in recent months.
Rwanda’s factories are making huge strides to improve the quality of the export market while Kenya’s tea is losing its attractiveness.
Tea researchers have always blamed Kenya’s decreased quality to poor storage in factories, poor usage of fertilizers (under applying or over-applying fertilizers).
Acting director of Tea Research Institute John Bore previously said that Rwanda’s good quality can be attributed to the fact that it grows most of their produce in high altitude areas of about 3,000 metres above sea level.
“Plucking frequency is a key factor that is messing up our tea quality. The shorter the plucking frequency like around seven days, you will be able to maintain high-quality standards,” Dr Bore stated.
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