Rwanda and China on Monday, November 29 signed an agreement that will see stevia grown in Rwanda exported to the Chinese market.
Signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda and the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), the protocol outlines the requirements that the stevia exports should meet before being sent to the Asian country.
Ambassador James Kimonyo signed on behalf of Rwanda while Ni Yuefeng, the Minister and Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC's) Committee of the GACC signed on behalf of China.
Speaking at the event, Kimonyo said that the signing of the protocol is yet "another milestone" in the excellent relations between Rwanda and China which were established 50 years ago.
Stevia is a high value crop from which a healthy zero-calorie natural sweetener and sugar substitute is extracted.
The extract from its leaves is a white powder that is about 300 times sweeter than sugar and is used in the beverage and food industry.
Rwanda's fertile and diverse terrain offers ideal conditions for stevia crop; with average elevation (1400-2000m), soil and climate conditions, Rwanda is able to achieve naturally high yields with sustainable and well distributed rainfalls throughout the year.
The signing of this stevia protocol comes after the signing of a number of other agreements between Rwanda and China including the protocol for the export of dried chili which was signed in March this year.