Rwanda generated US$114 million from agricultural products in 2020, representing a reduction of 5.5% compared to US$120.6 in the same period in 2019.
Export revenues from traditional commodities (coffee, tea, and pyrethrum) reduced by 1.2% from US$47.4 million in 2019 to US$47 million in 2020, according to National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).
The non-traditional commodities export revenues reduced by 8.30% from US$ 73.2 million in 2019 to US$ 67.2 million in 2020.
NAEB says in its quarterly report that tea production increased by 10.7% to 9,325 MT from 8,422 MT registered in the same quarter of 2019. Export volumes increased by 4.43%, to 7,140 MT from 6,838 MT registered in 2020.
The increase in tea production is justified by good rainfalls registered in the last three-month.
Export revenues from tea sales reduced by 8%, from US$ 20.5 in 2019 to US$ 19 million in the same period of 2020. The slight decrease in earnings is a result of price fluctuation at the international market whereby an average price reduced from US$ 3 to US$ 2.64.
Coffee production slightly rose by 1.07% from 6,754 MT registered in the second quarter of 2019 to 7,034 MT in the same period of 2020 due to good agronomical practices applied in farms.
However, export volumes went down by 14% from 7,865 MT registered in the second quarter of 2019 to 6,763 MT in 2020 mainly because of reduced markets of produced coffee as a result of COVID-19 hence leading to large quantities that are still in stock.
Coffee exports increased by 3%, to US$ 26.1 in 2020 from US$ 25.3 in 2019.
Among other commodities, pyrethrum export revenues increased by 26.9%, flowers by 39.5% and fruits by 3.75%.
Pyrethrum produce attracted new markets of South Korea while flowers and fruits, a number of great initiatives to expand their production and export volumes took place, new markets were penetrated and also their demand rose up.
Challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic which hit most of the businesses worldwide also affected exports in the agriculture sector. An example is the reduction of coffee export volumes which is attributed to a shortage of business deals between exporters and buyers as a result of lockdowns imposed by countries to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The same constraints were felt by horticulture business partners, especially in fruit and vegetable exports due to the limitation of movements of people and cargo flights.
“We will continue to enhance the quality of Rwandan agri-export commodities so as to meet standards being sought at the market. Regarding Covid-19 challenges, the Government has subsidized some charges, mostly in transport to support exporters in these challenging times,” Says Claude Bizimana, the Chief Executive Officer of NAEB.