The Wood Foundation Africa invests in existing factories to promote sustainable, equitable smallholder supply models that integrate smallholder farmers as strategic value chain partners.

The Wood Foundation Africa applies it tea expertise to significantly improve the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers by supporting them to achieve increased quantity and quality, and improved made tea price. This is done through the expansion of tea planting, delivering Farmer Field Schools, provision of quality agronomic advice, and supporting Rainforest Alliance certification.

Typically, brownfield developments and factory acquisitions are joint investments with a leading industry partner committed to ethical and sustainable practices.

Tea Brownfields in Numbers

2,100 practitioners

35%

Rwanda’s national tea production

2,100 practitioners

30,400

Smallholder farmers to be empowered

Mulindi & Shagasha, Rwanda

The Wood Foundation Africa and the Gatsby Foundation, through their joint company the East African Tea Investment (EATI), partnered with smallholder farmers to acquire the Mulindi and Shagasha tea factories in 2012 when they were privatised by the Government of Rwanda.

The factories are 100% smallholder supplied and account for 20% of Rwanda’s made tea production.

Through a combination of finance, professional management, and governance support, the aim is to transform the factories into profitable businesses for the 13,000 smallholder farmer shareholders. Once the principal investment of $10m has been repaid, and agreed indicators on governance are met, the factories will be handed to the farmers at nil return. They will be the first fully smallholder-owned tea factories in Rwanda.

Gisovu, Pfunda & Rugabano, Rwanda

The Wood Foundation Africa and Luxmi Tea Company, through the Silverback Tea Company, acquired the majority stake in three factories in 2019.

Gisovu is the premiere black tea factory in Africa and has received numerous awards and is one of the top performing at the Mombasa auction. Pfunda processes excellent leaf due to the volcanic soil and high-altitude production. Rugabano is the newest tea factory in Rwanda.

The three factories are majority smallholder supplied and, together, account for 15% of Rwanda’s made tea production.
Through these investments, 17,400 smallholder farmers will be supported to enhance yields and improve their incomes.

Gisovu, Pfunda & Rugabano, Rwanda

The Wood Foundation Africa and Luxmi Tea Company, through the Silverback Tea Company, acquired the majority stake in three factories in 2019.

Gisovu is the premiere black tea factory in Africa and has received numerous awards and is one of the top performing at the Mombasa auction. Pfunda processes excellent leaf due to the volcanic soil and high-altitude production. Rugabano is the newest tea factory in Rwanda.

The three factories are majority smallholder supplied and, together, account for 15% of Rwanda’s made tea production.
Through these investments, 17,400 smallholder farmers will be supported to enhance yields and improve their incomes.

Tea Brownfields in Numbers

2,100 practitioners

35%

Rwanda’s national tea production

2,100 practitioners

30,400

Smallholder farmers to be empowered