Rwanda reports overall growth in agricultural export earnings in 2021 despite mixed bag of performance

RWANDA – Rwanda earned over US$543 million in agricultural export revenues from January to December 2021, against over US$390 million it gained in the same period in 2020, representing an increase of 39 percent.

The positive performance is attributed to recovery of economic activities from the Covid-19 pandemic, with resumption of movement of people and goods in the region and abroad.

According to the report by National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), the country registered a rise in export revenues from traditional commodities such as coffee and tea.

From January-December 2021, over 35.2 million kilogrammes of processed tea were sold at US$96.7 million, against 32.7 million kilogrammes sold for US$90.2 million in the same period of 2020.

The 7% increase in tea revenue is attributed to the 8 per cent growth in tea export volumes, even though the average tea price dropped by 0.36 percent from US$2.76 per kilo to US$2.75 per kilo.

Meanwhile, coffee exports raked in US$78.3 million in revenues, compared to over 16.1 million kilogrammes that fetched US$55.2 million in the same period of 2020.

The increase of 42 percent in coffee revenues is attributed to the good price of US$4.48 per kilo registered in this period against US$3.41 per kilo average in 2020 and high volume of coffee sold in 2021, showcasing an 8.5% jump.

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The dairy sector showcased a mixed bag of performance as the country garnered US$5 million from the export of 3.4 million kilograms

In comparison to the previous period, the country sold a lower quantity of dairy products by 18.8% from 4.2 million kilogrammes exported in 2020, which earned the country US$3.6 million.

Shifting focus to the fruit sector, Rwanda exported 6.9 million kilogrammes of produce, earning US$9.9 million.

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In the same period of the previous year, 5.4 million kilogrammes of fruits were exported fetching US$6.9 million.

Considering such figures, Rwanda’s fruits export revenues went up by 44.6 percent, while, overall, volumes went down by 27.4 percent.

The East African country targets to generate US$1 billion in annual agricultural exports by 2024, which is more than double the current output by the sector.

Achieving that goal will require doubling down on exports of emerging crops such as cereals and horticulture, as well as meat, dairy and poultry products, while steadily growing traditional exports crops which are coffee, tea and pyrethrum, according to NAEB’s strategic plan 2019-2024, published in May 2019.

The country is also set to tap on the newly launched African Continental Free Trade Area, representing a market of 1.2 billion consumers.

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