The Wood Foundation Africa manages three smallholder tea greenfield sites in Rwanda and Tanzania, representing a Foreign Direct Investment value of more than $120m in rural areas with limited alternative economic activity.

Each greenfied investment is contributing to the creation of a long-term biological asset that generates regular income for farmers, with a tea factory providing a guaranteed market and premium price.

The greenfield model, delivered with likeminded philanthropic, public, and private sector partners, is an innovative approach to de-risking highly transformative investments which are long-term, require significant upfront capital, and are high-risk.

Smallholder Services Development Company (SSDC) model

Each greenfield investment applies the farmer services company model which acts as a vehicle for site focused investment on operational matters. Each SSDC has a mix of investor representatives, management, and smallholder representatives on its board.

The SSDC supports farmers to plant tea professionally, provides agronomic advice, trains participants through Farmer Field Schools, provides inputs such as seedlings and fertiliser on no-interest credit, and prepares land. The investment in land preparation is provided through long-term, patient capital at no interest which will be recovered once the tea comes into bearing.

Once bushes mature, the SSDC provides production logistics and is the exclusive supplier of greenleaf to the partner factory.

Tea Greenfields in Numbers

2,100 practitioners

10,000 Ha

Hectares of smallholder tea greenfields to be developed

2,100 practitioners

20,000

Smallholder farmers to be empowered

Njombe, Tanzania

Launched in 2014, the ‘Njombe Vision’ is at the centre of Tanzania’s tea industry and aims to support 3000 farmers to plant 2500 hectares of smallholder tea in Njombe.

Unilever has constructed the state-of-the-art Kabambe factory which is majority smallholder-supplied and manufactures quality tea that is already fetching above-average prices.

Njombe Outgrowers Services Company (NOSC), the SSDC, is jointly owned by farmers who are planting 250 hectares of new tea per annum. It is hoped the site will be fully planted by 2023, providing 8000 direct jobs.

More than 80% of the tea is grown in contiguous units or blocks, allowing for efficiencies such as mechanised harvesting and block irrigation.

This investment is being jointly delivered with the support of the Gatsby Foundation, FCDO, and Unilever.

North Nyaruguru, Rwanda

The Nyaruguru greenfield has been identified as a top source of Foreign Direct Investment by the Government of Rwanda.

Through the Services Company Outgrowers Nyaruguru (SCON), the SSDC, this investment is supporting more than 6000 farmers to plant 3,400 hectares of smallholder tea.

Unliever is constructing a factory which will be majority smallholder supplied. Gatsby Africa and FCDO are also partner investors in the site.

North Nyaruguru, Rwanda

The Nyaruguru greenfield has been identified as a top source of Foreign Direct Investment by the Government of Rwanda.

Through the Services Company Outgrowers Nyaruguru (SCON), the SSDC, this investment is supporting more than 6000 farmers to plant 3,400 hectares of smallholder tea.

Unliever is constructing a factory which will be majority smallholder supplied. Gatsby Africa and FCDO are also partner investors in the site.

Rugabano, Rwanda

A majority smallholder-supplied factory was launched in 2019 and is already producing some of the highest-quality teas in Rwanda.

Rugabano Outgrowers Services Company (ROS), the SSDC, is supporting more than 10,000 smallholder farmers to plant 4000 hectares of tea.

ROS is the exclusive supplier of greenleaf to the Rugabano Tea Company factory, owned by the Silverback Tea Company which is a joint venture between The Wood Foundation Africa and Luxmi Tea Company.

Tea Greenfields in Numbers

2,100 practitioners

10,000 Ha

Hectares of smallholder tea greenfields to be developed

2,100 practitioners

20,000

Smallholder farmers to be empowered