The Government has signed an agreement with Unilever Tea Rwanda Limited to construct a tea processing factory and develop two large-scale tea sites in Nyaruguru District.
The factory will produce black tea from green leaf while two new tea estates that will support small scale tea growers will be developed in Munini and Kibeho.
The project will kick off in September.
An estimated $50 million will be invested. The project will cover 4000 hectares and is expected to improve livelihoods of farmers through creating 2000 jobs while 3000 famers will be planting tea in the area.
At the signing ceremony on Tuesday evening, the Agriculture minister, Geraldine Mukeshimana, said the project is part of the government’s strategy for tea expansion in the country with the target to have 18, 000 hectares of tea plantation by 2020.
After Nyaruguru, similar projects will be implemented in high altitude districts of Nyamagabe, Rutsiro and Karongi. The next site will be Rugabano in Karongi district.
“The Government of Rwanda envisions achieving rural economic transformation by 2020. Through this partnership, citizens livelihoods will be improved,” she said.
According Camille Chammas, Unilever vice president, the partnership will allow Rwanda to exploit its potential to produce some of the world’s best tea with direct links to global markets via Unilever supply chain and brands that will generate a secure long term income for rural communities.
Unilever was selected through public tendering last year.
It is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products with sales in over 190 countries and is the world’s largest tea marketing company with leading brands.