NYAMAGABE - As Kitabi tea farmers celebrated their day on Monday, the Minister of Local governance, James Musoni, handed them a share-holding certificate for ownership of 10 percent shares in Kitabi Tea Company.
The company belongs to Rwanda Mountain Tea which owns 60% shares, while the government owns 30%.
The farmers, under their cooperative known by its acronym as KOBACYAMU, operating in Nyamagabe District, bought 10% of the shares.
Addressing hundreds of residents who turned up for the Tea growers’ Day in Kitabi, Musoni hailed the farmers and encouraged them to work hard to raise their share holding.
“When the government offers the remaining 30% of the shares for sale, bidders will be selected on merit. If you work well with 10% of the shares, you will undoubtedly win the other 30%,”said the Minister.
Pascal Nsabimana, the president of KOBACYAMU Cooperative, told The New Times that they hoped to acquire the other 30% shares.
He added that their target was to grow tea on 900 hectares, up from 825 hectares.
We want to improve on both quality and quantity and become more competitive, he said.
The cooperative has opened a credit and savings scheme to help about 5000 members acquire loans, according to Nsabimana. The priority is to uplift the wellbeing of farmers, said he.
The farmers commended the government for its land consolidation policy which they said has helped them to engage in extensive farming.
“I’m able to feed my family of six people and pay school fees for my children with money I get from tea. We no longer face hunger which used to be a problem in our region,” said Stephan Baramba, 52.
During the ceremony, 10 cows, 30 goats and various agriculture materials were awarded to the best 2009 tea farmers.