Tea export volumes from East Africa to the rest of the world have risen by 1.4 million kilograms, representing a 13% increase from the comparable previous year, data from the East African Tea Export Auction reveals.
A latest auction report has shown that a total of 10.4 million kilogramme bags of tea were exported, more than the 9 million kilogramme bags exported around the same time the previous year.
This is according to records from the auction held on November 5 and 6 at the Mombasa auction, according to the Citizen.
Six East African member states including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Ethiopia, out of the 10 countries on the auction list, actively participated in the auction.
Kenya exported over 7.6 million kilogrammes bags more than the 6.7 million it exported the same time last year, indicating an 11.4% increase in exports.
Uganda on the other hand, which boasts to be the second largest exporter in the region, sold 1.1 million kilogramme bags down from 1.3 million kilogrammes bags exported around the same time last year, an 18% drop in the period.
According to managing director of Uganda Tea Development Agency, the agency is increasingly moving into direct exports to markets such as Pakistan, United Kingdom and recently showcased in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai).
The producers also have direct export prospects in Russia, Iran and Egypt – some of the biggest buyers of tea.
Last year, Uganda exported tea worth US$79.8m from US$71.5m realised in 2016.
On average, the country exports about 60,000 tonnes indirectly through Mombasa auction as Kenyan tea through 27 exporting companies.
Rwanda exported 388,332 kilogrammes bags, up from 313,486 kilogramme bags exported the same time last year, a 19% improvement.
Burundi exported 153,603 kilogramme bags of tea which were 29% more than the 107,782 kilogramme bags exported last year.
Tanzania during this auction sold a total of 189,441 kilogramme bags; up from 165,560 kilogramme bags it exported the previous year, indicating a 12.6% increase.