Kigali — Today, President Kagame presided over awards to the best tea producers in Africa, where Rwanda tea producer, Kitabi factory won the overall award.
The three day Convention brought together members of the East African Tea Trade Association, including tea producers, tea traders, scholars, and investors to discuss how tea could drive Africa's economy.
Speaking at the Convention, President Paul Kagame reminded participants that tea was an important t foreign exchange earner. "The tea industry is important to the economy of the world. In Rwanda alone, tea is number two agricultural product we export. In the last ten years, incomes from tea increased from $22 to $65.7 million."
"In Africa, tea accounts for 13% of production and 32% of exports. The East African Community as a bloc is the first tea exporting region in the world. We are exporting but we need to also look at value addition," said President Kagame.
In this regard, President Kagame 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.
He then spoke about adding value to the tea, like the UK, Sri Lanka and Kenya who we are able to get up to a billion dollars from the industry annually. "We have to focus on adding value to our tea."
Over 600 participants attended from around the world including researchers, financial institutions, investors, logistic and warehousing businesses, and tea stakeholders.
The Convention is a unique opportunity for Rwanda to showcase achievements within the tea sector, as well as promote the tea expansion and investment plans that will establish 18,000 hectares of new fields and 5 tea processing factories.
Countries in attendance included Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Japan, Brazil and others.
The 1st Tea Convention was held in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2011, where two factories from Rwanda, Gisovu and Kitabi, received 1st and 3rd prizes for Best Quality Tea during the tasting competitions.