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February 28, 2011

Burundi tea revenues up 109 percent in January over year before

Burundi's tea export earnings jumped 109 percent to $1.9 million in January compared with the same month a year ago, thanks to high volumes and a good quality crop, a tea board official said on February 24.

The landlocked country exported 593 tonnes in January up from $908,552 earned in the same period in 2010 from the sale of 326 tonnes, data from the state-run tea board (OTB) showed.

"It is true that the quantity of tea sold in January was high, but the quality of our tea lifted up both prices and earnings," said Remy Ndayininahaze, head of exports at OTB.

Ndayininahaze said the average export price climbed to $3.20 per kg from $2.78 in January last year.

The board says most of the tea sold this month at the regional auction in Mombasa was above $3 per kg due to an improved quality.

OTB forecasts tea output would reach 9,000 tonnes this year, up from 8,016 tonnes in the 2010 season, partly due to an increased use of fertlizers on farms.

The board earned $18.8 million in 2010 from export and domestic sales from $16 million in 2009.

Tea is Burundi's second largest hard currency earner after coffee and supports some 300,000 smallholder farmers in a nation of 8 million people.

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