Regional tea exports grow by 21%

Tuesday April 23 2019

A farmer picks tea leaves. Uganda’s tea

A farmer picks tea leaves. Uganda’s tea production has continued to show positive growth. File Photo  

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Tea export volumes from East Africa to the rest of the world recorded a 21 per cent growth, the latest April auction report has shown.

Records from the auction held on April 15th and 16th at the Mombasa auction, show that the regional exported a total of 9.6 million kilogramme bags, up from 7.5 million kilogramme bags shipped around the same time the previous year.

At least six Eastern African member states actively participated in the auction out of the nine auction listed countries.

These included Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Ethiopia. The other countries on the list but did not trade include DR Congo, Malawi and Mozambique.

Uganda’s tea production has continued to show positive growth which has largely been attributed to good agronomical practices and increased acreage.
Mr George William Ssekitooleko, the General Secretary Uganda Tea Association, in an earlier interview with Prosper magazine said: “Good production as result of increased acreage is responsible for this performance.”

In the year ending 2018, tea exports recorded a 15 per cent increase – the highest performance that industrial players attribute to good production.
A total of 71 million bags of tea were exported up from 60 million kilogramme bags average exported the previous consecutive years, according to Bank of Uganda records.


The auction report by the East African Tea Export Auctions showed that Kenya exported over 7.2 million kilogrammes bags more than the 5.7 million it exported the same time last year. This indicated a 19.7 per cent increase in exports.

Uganda – the region’s second largest exporter – recorded the highest export margin of 43 per cent increase when it sold a total of 1.4 million kilogramme bags up from 816,621 kilogrammes bags exported around the same time last year.

Rwanda exported 527,781 kilogrammes bags, up from 467,260 kilogramme bags exported the same time last year. This indicated an 11.4 per cent growth.
Tanzania during this auction recorded a slight drop of 6 per cent when it exported a total of 273,725 kilogramme bags, down from 292,221 kilogramme bags it exported the previous year.

However, Ethiopia the only country outside East Africa experienced a sharp decline, when it exported 1,978 bags in this period down from 26,413 bags sold the same time last year.