Rwanda’s tea continues to sell at a premium at the Mombasa auction, outdoing price offers from other regional countries as international buyers stay choosy on quality.
Market data from the auction shows the price of Rwandan tea at $3.02 a kilo in the sale held Tuesday last week, against Kenya’s tea at $2.72, Burundi $2.44, Uganda $1.27 and Tanzania’s $1.15 for the same quantity.
The value of Rwandan tea has been on an upward trend since the beginning of the year on the back of high demand.
“There are specific attributes, including quality, which buyers look at when they are buying tea at the auction.
Rwanda has always stood out as the best,” said a tea broker.
On average, all the tea at the auction fetched $2.52 per kilo this week, the same value it fetched in the previous sale.
These teas comprise those processed by small-scale farmers affiliated to the Kenya Tea Development Agency, those processed by multinational firms and by the five regional countries that sell their beverage through the Mombasa auction.
All the regional teas are marketed at the Mombasa auction by the East African Tea Traders Association before they are shipped out of the country for overseas market. The association used to trade tea from at least 12 African countries before the pandemic but the number of participating states has fallen to five as supplies from Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and DRC Congo were cut short by logistical challenges.
Kenya, which is the leading tea exporter in the world, leads the auction in terms of volumes, with more than three quarter of the produce traded coming from within the country.
Prices have been performing well at the weekly trading since last year June after the Kenyan government introduced a minimum price of $2.43 at which traders are supposed to pay for a kilo of the commodity.
The government issued the directive last year after the price of tea dropped below the production level, subjecting farmers to losses.
A kilo of tea had dropped to as low as $1.65.