By Justin Kayiranga
Sir Ian Wood has expressed satisfaction with the progress being made in tea farming in Rwanda, especially in Nyaruguru district, one of the major tea growing regions. However, he pointed out the challenge of inconvenient roads that may interfere with tea transportation and obstruct the business.
The Scottish businessman made the statement on May24th, 2023 while on a tour of Nyaruguru district. During his visit, he inspected various tea farming projects, including those funded by his foundation, The Wood Foundation Africa, through its established Services Company Out-growers Nyaruguru (SCON).
After the tour, Sir Ian Wood commented on what he had seen and commended the exciting progress that has been made so far in tea farming in the Nyaruguru district. He also noted how quickly projects are being implemented for the benefit of farmers.
“It’s really quite exciting and it’s moving ahead very quickly. I think this part of Rwanda is coming on immensely, absolutely immensely in terms of different types of activities and plants. I think Rwanda is in really good shape. That’s my main comment.” Declared the Scottish billionaire.
Though The Wood Foundation, a venture philanthropy organization, has been supporting farmers to plant out tea professionally and to scale; offer agronomic advice and training through Farmer Field Schools; as well as provide inputs such as seedlings and fertilizers on credit, Ian Wood stressed that there is a need for more investors in Rwanda to help and make change so that things might get better than they are today.
“Rwanda has established a good quality reputation, not the best, but a good quality reputation. What it needs to do now is continue to build on that.”
“There’s excellent potential in Rwanda for helping, making change and improving things and getting things better. There’s a lot of potential for that and I hope more people realize that.”
Among other things that made him very excited is the presence of tea factories in Nyaruguru district where farmers take their tea produce and earn money to help them develop. However, he mentioned the urgent need for convenient roads in the area so as to ease tea transportation.
” Rwanda’s got so many things going for it, but I’m afraid a number of African countries, the roads are not as good as they should be. They’re actually better in Rwanda than there are in a lot of other African countries. But this country will undoubtedly need to invest a lot in roads to ensure that industries like tea and some of the other ones can rely on them.”
The mayor of Nyaruguru district, Murwanashyaka Emmanuel, also admits that there is a need for road construction not only for tea transportation but also for other daily activities. However, he revealed that “the district only presents their road construction plan to the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) and waits for the budget to be made available.”
About Sir Ian Wood
Sir Ian Clark Wood is a Scottish billionaire businessman and philanthropist, founder of The Wood Foundation – a charitable trust that has invested in upskilling farmers, while also providing corporate governance support.
In Africa, its venture philanthropy model is empowering 80,000 smallholder farmers in tea and other agricultural sectors in a model of transformational change.