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TWFA – Tea Project Launch

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  • Innovative partnership brings FDI, technical tea knowhow and a direct route to the market to Nyaruguru’s smallholder farmers.

Nyaruguru: December 5th marks the official launch of Unilever’s substantive investment into Rwanda’s tea sector. Government of Rwanda and Unilever have started to prepare the grounds for the development of a new tea processing factory at a core tea estate in Nyaruguru. The factory will be supplied by up to 6000 small scale farmers who will plant tea on 3,500 hectares of land across the Kibeho and Munini sectors.

The UK has partnered with The Wood Foundation Africa (TWFA) to help de-risk this investment, by supporting smallholder farmers to supply the Unilever tea factory on time and at the required quality standards. DFID’s frontloaded contribution of £4.85/RWF6.46bn to this project has enabled TWFA to setup and run an expert tea services company that will provide tea planting support, inputs on credit, and production logistics to up to 6000 farmers.

One of the UK’s development priorities in Rwanda is to support Government to stimulate private sector investment in priority sectors, such as tea, as driver of export growth, revenue, and job creation.

This is in support of Rwanda’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy. Consequently, we are pleased that the project’s innovative partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Unilever and TWFA is demonstrating merits and viability of an innovative model which meets FDI, export and poverty reduction objectives.

When compared to traditional crops, tea provides Rwanda/Cooperation farmers with significantly higher incomes. Increasing tea production and exports in Rwanda requires the development of Greenfield tea alongside addressing the barriers that limit (foreign) private sector investment in the sector.

The project is demonstrating how an innovative partnership can overcome the following constraints that limit (foreign) investment into agricultural processing: Securing guaranteed quality and quantity supply from smallholder farmers; Coordination and training of farmers; Bridging a long investment horizon of green field projects; Securing business viability from a supply chain which foreign investors lack direct control over.

Sarah Metcalf, Head of DFID Rwanda said “The UK is proud to be supporting the livelihoods of Rwandan smallholder farmers through this innovative partnership with the Government of Rwanda, Unilever and The Wood Foundation Africa. I would like to particularly congratulate the 86 pioneer farmers who have led the first planting cycle over the last couple of months. We look forward to our continued support of Rwanda’s inclusive economic development and these types of investments which strengthen the link between the Government of Rwanda and Her Majesties’ Government.”  (End)


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