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Burundi tea earnings up 18%

Jan 17 2013 15:25 Reuters

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza (Esdras Ndikumana, AFP)

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Bujumbura - Burundi's tea export revenues rose 18% in 2012 from a year before due to sharp rises in both volumes and prices, a tea board official said on Thursday.

Tea is the central African country's second-largest hard currency earner after coffee, and supports some 300 000 smallholder farmers in the nation of 8m people.

The tiny landlocked country's state-run tea board said January to December earnings climbed to $26.3m from the export of 8 760.671 kg, up from $22.2m earned in 2011 from the sale of 7 964.373 kg.

"Tea output increased in 2012 due to good rains and this enabled the county to export high quantities of the commodity," said Joseph Marc Ndahigeze, an officer in charge of exports.

"Overall earnings also rose due to a stronger regional market depending on a fall in cumulative production of the Kenyan tea," he told Reuters.

Ndahigeze said the export average price per kg reached $3.00, up from $2.80 in 2011.

Monthly revenues also rose to $1.54m in December last year from $1.08m collected the same month in 2011.

Burundi exports 80% of its tea through a regional weekly auction held in Kenya's Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa.  

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