April 13, 2024


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Nyamasheke Allocates 4,000 Hectares for Tea Plantations near Nyungwe National Park

Nyamasheke District, Rwanda – In a significant move to boost the local economy and promote sustainable agriculture, Nyamasheke District has decided to allocate approximately 4,000 hectares of land adjacent to the renowned Nyungwe National Park for the establishment of tea plantations. This initiative aims to harness the region’s favorable climate and fertile soil to propel the growth of the tea industry.

The decision to allocate this vast tract of land for tea cultivation comes as part of the district’s proactive efforts to diversify its agricultural sector, increase production and boost employment opportunities for the local population.

The lush greenery and high altitude of Nyungwe National Park provide an ideal environment for cultivating high-quality tea. The district’s decision to allocate this land will not only contribute to the expansion of Rwanda’s tea industry but also ensure that it is done in harmony with the preservation of the national park’s fragile ecosystem.

Experts said that “By allocating land near the park specifically for tea plantations, Nyamasheke District aims to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental conservation. This approach ensures that the expansion of the tea sector does not encroach upon the boundaries of Nyungwe National Park, which is home to an array of endangered species and plays a vital role in preserving Rwanda’s natural heritage.”

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.

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