Rwanda’s agricultural exports increased by 44 per cent to over $640.9 million (over Rwf663 billion) in 2021-2022, from $444.8 million (over Rwf460 billion) in the previous financial year, according to a new report.
These figures released on Monday, September 12, contained in the June Report by the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), imply that Rwanda got over $196 million (or Rwf201 billion) from its agricultural exports.
This additional export revenue is more than Rwf160 billion which was allocated to funding agriculture sector projects in the current fiscal year.
According to the report, the increase in terms of revenues is attributed to the economic recovery measures and movement of goods and people in 2021-2022 compared to 2020-2021, where cross borders movements were restricted by the coronavirus pandemic preventive measures.
During the period in review, traditional export commodities – coffee, tea, and pyrethrum – increased by 18 per cent, while non-traditional export commodities (those that are relatively new for Rwanda, such as horticulture and cereals), increased by 58 per cent.
In comparison to the fiscal year 2020/2021, horticulture (vegetables, fruits and flowers) accounted for 6.7 per cent of total agro-export revenues as they generated $42.8 million. Vegetable and fruit export earnings rose by 63 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.
However, flower export quantities and revenues decreased (5 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively) as a result of the ongoing political crisis between Russia and Ukraine, both of which are major importers of flowers.
Cereals and grains’ export revenues increased by 44 per cent, accounting for 20.8 per cent of total agro-export revenues.
NAEB said that it values the contribution of all stakeholders for this performance and anticipates further growth in the agricultural export business as the global economy continues to open up.
“We are pleased that, in addition to other opportunities, the agro-export sector contributes significantly to job retention and creation. We will build on this year’s strong performance by looking for new and innovative ways to keep Rwanda’s agribusiness environment adaptable and competitive while drawing in the interest of international markets,” said NAEB’s Chief Executive Officer, Claude Bizimana, while commenting on the annual agricultural export performance.
In the fiscal year 2021-2022, coffee export volumes amounted to over 15 million kilogrammes (kgs), and generated over $75.5 million.
The increase of about 23 per cent in coffee revenues from July 2021 to June 2022 in comparison with the same period of 2021, is attributed to good prices registered in this period.
In the period under review, the average price was $4.58/kg against $3.62/kg of 2021.
“Even if the quantities of coffee sold in 2021-2022 was low (decrease of 8.85%) in comparison with the year 2021, the good price influenced the increase in revenue,” the report reads in part.
Export of made (processed) tea in July 2021-June 2022 amounted to over 35 million kilogrammes, which fetched$103.4 million.
In the same period of the previous fiscal year, more than 34 million kilogrammes of tea were sold at the international market for $90 million.
The increase of 15 per cent in tea revenues comes from two factors, namely the high volume of tea sold in 2021-2022 (2.94 per cent increment), and the good price registered in 2021- 2022 in comparison with the previous year.
In the 2020-2021 period, a kilogramme of tea was $2.92, higher than $2.62 per cent in the previous period.
Meanwhile, cereal export revenues rose by 44 per cent to $133 million in the financial year which concluded on June 30 this year, compared to $92 million in the previous one. Export quantities of the same commodity went up to more than 254 million kilogrammes from 194 million kilogrammes.
It is worth mentioning that Rwanda seeks to expand its agricultural export base through commodity diversification as it seeks to able to generate $1 billion (over Rwf1 trillion) in annual foreign agricultural revenues by 2024.