Bloomberg News

Burundi Tea Exports Rise 1.4% in September as Prices Strengthen

October 19, 2011

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Tea exports from Burundi rose to 574 metric tons in September from 566 tons a year earlier as international prices for the drink rose, according to Joseph Marc Ndahigeze, head of the Burundi Tea Board.

Earnings from sales of the leaf increased to $1.6 million from $1.5 million a year earlier, Ndahigeze said today in an interview in the capital, Bujumbura. The price of tea rose to $2.79 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) from $2.62 a kilogram a year earlier, he said.

Rising fuel prices in the central African country hampered further exports, Ndahigeze said. Most of Burundi’s tea is trucked east to Mombasa, Kenya, from where it is shipped.

Burundi relies on tea and coffee to generate 90 percent of its foreign-exchange earnings, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Yields in the East African nation have fallen from more than 9,000 tons in 2001 because of an insurgency that displaced small-scale growers, who are responsible for about 80 percent of production. Overcrowding and a lack of arable land and fertilizers are also problems for the industry.

--Editors: Hilton Shone, Emily Bowers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Desire Nimubona in Bujumbura via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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