Rwanda’s tea continues to sell at a premium at the Mombasa auction, outdoing price offers on Kenya’s produce as international buyers stay choosy on quality.
Market data from the auction indicates the price of Rwandan tea stood at Sh272 a kilo in the sale held last week against Kenya’s Sh206 for the same quantity.
Rwanda has often led when it comes to the best tea, fetching high price compared with others from the region.
“There are specific attributes, including quality, which buyers look at when they are buying tea at the auction and that is what normally informs the price of a given produce,” said a tea broker at the auction.
On average, all the tea at the auction fetched Sh198 per kilo. These teas comprise the ones that are processed by KTDA, multinational firms and other 10 countries that sell their beverage through the Mombasa auction.
All the regional teas are marketed at the Mombasa auction by the East African Tea Traders Association before they are shipped out of the country.
Kenya, which is the leading tea exporter in the world, leads the auction in terms of volumes with more than three quarter of the produce traded coming from within the country.
Prices have remained low at the auction in recent months in what has been attributed to high volumes of the commodity in the global market.
Kenya's Tea Directorate said production, which had already started declining in the last three months, will remain depressed for the remainder of the year because of the cold season witnessed in June and July and cessation of rain.
The tea price of farmers attached to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) managed factories declined from Sh237 a kilo on average between March and September this year, from a high of Sh269 in corresponding period last year.