Kigali, 29 August 2013
President Kagame has urged tea producers to tap into the high value and specialty tea market, and adopt new technologies to keep tea competitive on the global beverage market. President Kagame said this today while addressing the second Africa tea convention and exhibition taking place at Serena Hotel, Kigali:
“There is no doubt that the tea industry is important to the world economy. Africa accounts for 13 percent of the global tea production and 32 percent of global tea exports. We must therefore remain alive to the sector’s importance in foreign exchange earnings, generating direct and in-direct employment to millions of our people, and poverty reduction.”
President Kagame pointed out that the tea sector has opportunities that should be explored by embarking on value addition, product and market diversification by tapping into the high value and specialty tea market, and adoption of new technologies to keep it competitive on the global beverage market.
President Kagame urged Africans to take advantage of its growing population to create a market for tea, instead of solely relying on the foreign market in order to earn even more than what is currently earned:
“As you may be aware, East Africa as a bloc is the third largest tea producer in the world after China and India, but also the leading exporter in the world. This is because we consume only a small proportion of what we produce. This situation must be altered. The industry can earn more if, in addition to export, we increase domestic consumption of tea. We should take advantage of Africa’s growing population, now estimated at one billion, as a significant consumer base to reduce dependence on external markets alone.”
President Kagame congratulated SORWATHE for taking the lead locally in value addition to tea and challenged the other tea companies to follow this example. He reminded that success of the tea industry hinges a lot on the farmer and therefore, the industry must be prepared to invest with and in farmers in order to get the most that can be obtained from land.
President Kagame also presided over the handover of awards to the best producers of different tea tastes, which were dominated by Rwandan tea producers. Kitabi tea factory won the overall award.