Burundi: Tea Production Grows At 3.6 Percent

Bujumbura — Burundi Tea Board, (l'Office du thé du Burundi (OTB), has achieved very satisfactory results in production and sales in 2012.

This was said by the General Director of the OTB, a public company, Mr. Alexis Nzohabonimana during a recent presentation of the board's achievements for the last year.

Mr. Nzohabonimana said that the production of dry tea increased from 8.8 tonnes in 2011 to 9.1 tons in 2012, an increase of 3.6%, a record production in the history of tea cultivation in Burundi.

Moreover, this increase in tea production means the turnover increased by 29.1 billion BIF (USD 19.4 million) to the end of 2011 to 39.1 billion BIF (USD 26 million), an increase of about 34%.

Inflows of foreign currencies from the OTB tea marketing went from 22.2 million U.S. dollars in 2011 to 26.3 million U.S. dollars in 2012, a growth of around 4.1 million U.S. dollars, an increase of about 18.5%.

This level of foreign currency flow from the marketing of tea is also a record. The average realized for export increased from 2.8 USD per kilogram to 3 USD per kilogram, thus an increase of 7%.

"The quality of Burundi tea continues to improve and there is a sign of the recognition of this quality by buyers.

Thus, at the Mombasa auction where tea from 11 African countries is sold, Burundi's tea has retained its second place in 2012 after Kenya. This place was just achieved during the year 2011," emphasized Mr. Nzohabonimana.

Behind these performances were, among others, human endeavor considered as one of the most important by the General Director of the OTB.

He also indicated that the staff at OTB and tea growers has worked tirelessly. Moreover, the current price of green leaf and the bonuses that OTB continues to periodically provide also motivated the tea growers.

The timely fertilization of plantation is also the basis of these performances. To this, is added the rainfall which was good during the year 2012 and the dry season which was rather short. Also, quality improved due to good modern machines, motivation of tea growers and capacity building of staff.

In terms of investment, two key actions were reported. One is the expansion, since 2010, of nurseries for the production of tea plants to tea farms, especially in rural villages. he sown land is 350 hectares with 4.2 million plants each year at a rate of 12,000 plants/ ha.

Another investment was the ongoing expansion of the Rwegura plantation in the year 2012 to increase its capacity. This extension will continue through the year 2013.

Due to the currently relative political stability of Burundi and the level already attained in improving the business climate, many private investors have expressed an interest in bringing their capital to promote the Burundian tea quality as the best in the sub-region.

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