Rwanda Tea Authority, Ocir-Thé, has said that it is planning to increase tea plantations by 75 percent from 12000ha to 21000ha by 2012.
Antoine Butera, the Director General of Ocir-Thé told Business Times that the authority is encouraging tea growers to expand plantations outside traditional areas of production in order to increase national output of green leaf.
Ocir-Thé estimates that they could generate 60,000 new jobs by 2012 double the current workforce employed by the tea sector.
“Beneficiaries will increase from the current 200,000 to 400,000,” Butera said.
The expansion of tea plantations will also see improved infrastructures like roads, electricity, schools built, access to drinking water, and business centres developed, he explained.
By October last year, production stood at 20,000 tones from the targeted 24,000 tones of made tea, generating $48 million (Rwf27.5 billion), $6 million (Rwf3.4 billion) shy of the annual target of $54 million (Rwf30.9billion).
Despite the decrease in output and revenues, tea prices on the international market have been better compared to 2008.
On average, the price for a kilogram of tea was at $2.5 (Rwf1,429) in 2009 while in 2008 a kilogram of tea would go for $2.3 (Rwf1,315). Farm gate prices are Rwf86 per kilo of green leaf.