The Rugabano Tea Company (RTC) has been officially opened by Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture Gerardine Mukeshimana.
RTC is fully owned by Rwanda Tea Investments Limited, a joint venture of Luxmi Tea and The Wood Foundation Africa. It will operate a tea processing factory and greenfield development at the site.
More than 10,000 smallholder tea farmers will supply the factory from 4000Has. There is also a 400Has industrial block.
The factory will eventually produce 6000 to 8000 tonnes of made tea per annum, making it one of the largest tea operations in Rwanda.
The Rugabano development will have a transformational impact on the villagers living in the western province of Rwanda through job creation, enhanced incomes, infrastructure development, and foreign exchange.
David Knopp, Director of Africa at The Wood Foundation, said:
“This is a landmark moment for the tea industry in Rwanda. Rugabano will be the largest smallholder development in the country.
“Our venture philanthropic focus is on the smallholder farmer, equipping them with the skills, tools, markets, support and opportunities to produce a high-quality product which will secure a premium price.”
Luxmi is the largest privately held tea company in India producing some of the highest quality teas in the world, including the famous Makaibari estate from Darjeeling.
To support this venture, The Wood Foundation, Gatsby Foundation and UK Department for International Development (DfID) have established the Rugabano Outgrowers Services (ROS) Company which provides a range of services and finance to assist smallholder farmers enter the tea business. This support includes agronomic training, seedlings and inputs on no-interest, patient credit, as well as production logistics such as collection, weighment, transport and payment.
ROS will be the dedicated supplier of smallholder leaf to the Rugabano factory and ensure RTC receives the quantity and quality of green leaf required.
News report from the opening: https://www.newtimes.co.rw/timestv/luxmi-tea-opens-factory-rwanda