Nyamasheke: 4,000 hectares near Nyungwe National Park allocated for tea cultivation

By Esther Muhozi
On 27 December 2023 at 08:44

A total of 4000 hectares on the outskirts of the Nyungwe National Park in Nyamasheke district are slated for tea cultivation, aimed at addressing the challenges faced by the tea industry, which currently operates at only 50% of its capacity due to inadequate production.

The industry plays a pivotal role in accelerating the overall development of the country and the well-being of its people. In Nyamasheke District, various factories, particularly those processing agricultural products such as coffee and tea, are vital contributors to the national economy.

Existing tea factories, including the three in Nyamasheke and others in different parts of the country, are constrained by insufficient tea leaf production, leading to their utilization at only 50% capacity.

Emmanuel Gasarabwe, the Director General of Gatare Tea Factory, has told IGIHE that the factory’s operational limitation is strategic. The factory was designed with ample capacity to accommodate future production increases, eliminating the need for additional construction every time production rises.

Gasarabwe emphasized, "While the current 50% utilization poses a challenge, it is also a forward-looking solution. Rwanda Mountain Tea constructed this factory with a long-term perspective, anticipating sustained production growth without the necessity of building another facility." He added, "Our large-capacity factory ensures we can handle the increased production expected in the next decade."

Athanasie Mukankusi, the Vice Mayor of Nyamasheke District in charge of social affairs, highlighted the district’s commitment to industry development in alignment with national policies. Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between farmers and the industry, Mukankusi stressed the importance of coordination. "It is our role to encourage farmers to cultivate tea effectively, ensuring a robust supply chain for the industry to operate at its full 100% capacity.

“Our plan involves planting over 4,000 hectares along the Nyungwe belt to boost overall production in Gatare and Gisakura factories, elevating them from 50% to a higher operational level," she stated.

Despite Gatare Tea Factory’s capacity to process 4000 tons of tea annually, its actual production is limited to 2000 tons, primarily due to farmers not meeting the demand for raw tea leaves.