RWANDA – Rwanda has assented a protocol for the export of dried chilli to China, giving it access to the Asian market.

The agreement was inked between the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda and the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China, certifying that the quality of Rwanda’s dry chilli meets the standards required by China.

Prior to the signing of the protocol, Rwandan companies were only exporting chili in other forms i.e., oil and paste, but not dried chilli.

China’s e-commerce platform, Alibaba group has been boosting trade of the commodity by auctioning Chilli on its electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

Rwanda exported 721,000 kilogrammes in 2018/2019 fetching over US$1 million

National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB)

Demonstrating the rising potential of the crop, a young Rwandese agribusiness entrepreneur, Dieudonné Twahirwa, landed a deal to supply 50,000 tonnes of dry chilli worth US$100 million every year to China, a move expected to significantly boost the country’s agricultural exports.

The five-year agreement was signed in September 2019, at the Rwandan Embassy in Beijing between Twahirwa and the Chinese GK International Enterprises, a trading company dealing with import and export of different items, including food items, solar coating, among others.

Rwanda’s chilli exports increased from 357,000 kilogrammes which earned over US$484,000 in 2017/2018 to 721,000 kilogrammes that fetched over US$1 million in 2018-2019, according to statistics from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).

Generally, agriculture has proven to be a game-changer in Rwanda’s economy, however in the second quarter of 2020/21 ended December, it fetched US$113.9 million from exports a 5.5% decline from US$120.6 million registered in the same period last year.

The decline is attributed to the reduction of cross border trade due to Covid-19 impact including the lockdown measures put in place.

Export revenues from traditional commodities (coffee, tea and pyrethrum) reduced by 1.2 per cent from US$47.3 million in the previous year to US$46.7 million.

Tea export volumes increased by 4.43% to 7,140 tonnes from 6,838 tonnes registered in the same quarter of 2019/2020 but sales reduced by 8%, from US$20.5 million of the prior corresponding period to US$18.8 million.

Coffee exports on the other hand slightly went down by 14% from 7,865 tonnes to 6,763 tonnes mainly because of the reduced market as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence leading to large quantities of output that were not exported.

Thanks to the good price at the international market, revenues from Rwandan coffee exports increased by 3% to US$26.1 million up from US$25.3 million.

Revenues from non-traditional commodities such as horticulture, cereals, flour, dairy and poultry products reduced by 8.3% from US$73.2 million to US$67.2 million in the period under review.

The same constraints brought by the pandemic were felt by horticulture businesses, especially in fruit and vegetable exports due to restrictions to the movements of passenger and cargo flights.