Photo: Asoko Insight
Indian Luxmi Tea factory has opened its branches in Karongi district, Western Province with the capacity to produce 1,000,000Kg of dry tea, annually.
The new factory dubbed ‘Rugabano tea factory’ is worth about Rwf4 billion.
With over 100 years in tea business and horticulture across the world, Luxmi group ltd targets to boost local tea production and export earnings from the country’s key cash crop – currently generating $83,552,108 annual export revenues.
Rugabano tea factory finds other 17 factories including, Rwanda Mountain tea, Kitabi, Nyabihu; Gisovu tea factory, all previous winners of fourth Africa Tea Convention and Exhibition that was held in Kampala, Uganda.
Other key tea factories include Karongi, Mulindi and Nshili Kivu, among others.
Rugabano tea factory opened after Rwanda, in 2017, signed an agreement with Assam’s Luxmi Tea Co. Pvt. Ltd – an Indian company to develop around 4,500 hectares (ha) of tea plantation, jointly with local tea growers.
In the first phase, Luxmi Tea factory was given 438ha under lease from the Rwandan government, in which the factory supports local growers with skills to cultivate 4,000ha more, and buy their crop paying a 44% share of the revenue.
So far, Luxmi Tea Company has planted over 120 hectares but will continue expanding the cultivation land as the factory keeps growing.
According to Bill Kayonga, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB), “this factory comes to boost the tea sector by employing residents and enjoying constructed infrastructures like roads and electricity, it also comes to increase export revenues.”
“Farmers should use this opportunity and cooperate with this factory managers to develop themselves, its ready market for tea and has the capacity to buy all that will be harvested, you have to upgrade both quality and quantity,” Kayonga said.
The multi-million dollar project is set to employ more than 2000 farmers, from the Tea Company, the cultivation area of 438 hectares and targets out-grower pattern of over 4,000 hectares of tea plantations.
Luxmi Tea factory has set over $30 million that will be invested in the next 10 years, with a prospect of full production of 6000 metric tonnes of processed tea annually.
Rudra Chatterjee, Managing Director of Luxmi Tea Company, said: “This factory comes to benefit owners and local communities, we trusted the country and decided to invest here, with an immersive experience in tea business, we shall aim at producing the worlds’ best quality.”
“Farmers should be willing to work and produce both quality and quantity for the tea business to keep prospering. We have good altitude and climate for tea growing the rest is the spirit of working,” Chatterjee.
Tea growing is one of Rwanda’s mega export earner. As of the end of financial year 2018/2019, Rwandan tea producers had exported 30.573 MT – generating $83,552,108 from tea grown on a total area of 27,112 hectares.
According to NAEB, a total volume of 65,099 Metric Tons of Rwanda Tea will have been exported – generating $209 million by 2024.