Uganda’s tea attracts lowest price among EAC states 

Thursday January 21 2021
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A tea plantation in western Uganda, where the crop is widely grown. PHOTO | FILE

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Uganda’s tea continues to attract the lowest price compared to other East African member states that sell the commodity through the Mombasa Auction. 

According to data from the Mombasa Auction, Uganda’s tea sold lower than that of Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. 

For instance, according to the January 12 and 13 auctions, a kilogramme of Uganda’s tea was sold for $1.3 (Shs4,810), far below Kenya’s $2.38 (Shs8,806).

This was also lower than $3.23 (Shs11,951), which Rwanda earned per kilogramme and $2.47 (Shs9,139) for Burundi. 

Tea export receipts, according to data from Bank of Uganda, have also slightly declined by 4 per cent. 

According to Bank of Uganda annual performance for the period ended November 2020, Uganda earned $84.2m (Shs311b), which was lower than the $87.6m (Shs322b) earned in the same period between 2018 and 2019.

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The drop, according to experts resulted from a decline in auction prices at the Mombasa Auction. 

Mr Elly Twineyo, the Uganda Export Promotion Board executive director, yesterday said: “Tea responds to season and the drop in prices could have resulted from the auction at Mombasa during the period in review.”

Prices of tea have relatively been low since mid-day 2018. 

‘Covid equally affected movement of tea by land to reach the auction. This saw less volumes exported to Mombasa,” Mr Twineyo said.

Tea is one of Uganda’s leading exports, exported through to global markets through the Mombasa Auction.

During the last auction period, the region sold more than 10.1 million kilogrammes down from 10.2 million sold the previous year.

Of this, Uganda contributed 1.5m kilogrammes up from 1.3m sold the previous year.  Kenya, the region’s market leader, sold over 7.7m kilogrammes down from 8.1m Kilogrammes sold the previous year. 

During the period Kenya’s tea prices at the Mombasa auction remained stable, maintaining a high of at least four months.  Kenya’s good price saw the volume of tea withdrawn from the auction floor decline marginally from 14 per cent in the previous sale to 13 per cent during Tuesday trading.

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