Rwanda Tea Brand – the country’s tea export arm, announced Rwf51million sponsorship of the 9th edition of Tour du Rwanda cycling competition due to start this August 5th 2018.
This is the second year that the Rwanda tea brand has entered the Rwf500m consortium of sponsors of the famous cycling event since it rebranded last year.
According to officials at Rwanda Tea, government will contribute 50%
(Rwf25m) of the amount while the rest came from the private sector.
In 2017, Rwanda Tea put in Rwf56million (Rwf32m from government) into the sponsorship which cost over Rwf400m last year.
Issa Nkurunziza, Tea Division Manager at National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) said that the sponsorship is intended to market Rwanda tea to increase local and international sales hence benefit farmers.
“The farmers will ultimately benefit from this and we shall be able to meet our targets of promoting Rwandan tea as a brand,” Nkurunziza said during a press briefing on Saturday.
Currently, a kilogram of Rwanda tea sells at $3.3 on the auction market.
There are 42,000 farmers in 20 cooperatives getting 40% of the proceeds across the country.
Last year, the country through NAEB sold 27 metric tonnes of tea worth $88m last year and has set a target of 31metric tonnes worth $92million this year.
With these targets, NAEB officials say the sponsorship will be a long term strategy in the next years and could extend to other areas that would market the country’s key export product.
Nkurunziza said that they are also targeting the west African market where they recently started exporting Rwandan tea adding to the 48 countries in Asia, Middle East and Europe.
Rwanda Tea Packers (RTP) also said that this sponsorship will send the messages that will make Rwandans consume, and identify with their tea.
“This is a long term strategy of promoting our own identity of Rwanda tea as inscribed in the Rwanda identity marketing strategy,”said Hamim Kabagambe, the RTP Factory Manager.
In this strategy, Rwanda as a country has embarked on promotion of locally made products (Made-in-Rwanda) which are consumed by Rwandans.
In the tea sector which dates from 1961, Rwanda has branded its tea as ‘Rwanda Tea, A natural Awakening’ scooping 11 out 12 awards for best quality tea at the Africa Tea Convention held in Nairobi Kenya in May this year, and Rwanda Tea Company scooping a gold medal at the 8th North America Tea Convention in September last year.