The Wood Foundation Africa applies its tea expertise to significantly improve the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers by supporting them to achieve increased quantity and quality, as well as an improved made tea price.

This is achieved through a variety of philanthropic investments, including smallholder privatisations, joint ownership of majority smallholder supplied tea companies, as well as professional management and corporate governance support. Additional targeted assistance through new tea expansion, quality premiums, and plucker incentives are applied to maximise the link between increased yields, quality, and smallholder returns.

Tea Brownfields in Numbers

2,100 practitioners

30,400

Smallholder farmers empowered by the Brownfield investments

2,100 practitioners

35%

Rwanda’s national tea production

Mulindi & Shagasha, Rwanda

The Wood Foundation Africa and the Gatsby Foundation, through their joint company East African Tea Investments (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 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 CTC tea factory in Africa, and has received numerous awards for its bright, golden, and brisk cup. Pfunda offers a tea which is bright and coloury with body and briskness, while Rugabano is the newest tea factory in Rwanda already scoring among the top factories in Africa.

The teas from all three gardens are grown in volcanic soils at elevations ranging between 1,900m and 2,500m above sea level. Greenleaf is majority supplied by 17,400 smallholder farmers who receive agronomic support and an additional premium for high quality green leaf supplied. As a result of this, the factories are able to produce some of the most sought-after CTC teas in the world.

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 CTC tea factory in Africa, and has received numerous awards for its bright, golden, and brisk cup. Pfunda offers a tea which is bright and coloury with body and briskness, while Rugabano is the newest tea factory in Rwanda already scoring among the top factories in the country.

The teas from all three gardens are grown in volcanic soils at elevations ranging between 2,000m and 2,700m above sea level. Greenleaf is sourced from The Wood Foundation Africa’s estates, and is majority supplied by 17,400 smallholder farmers. Both sources maintain a consistently high-quality standard. As a result of this, the factories are able to produce some of the most sought-after CTC teas in the world.

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