NYAMAGABE - Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza on Saturday joined tea farmers and workers of Kitabi Tea Company to celebrate President Paul Kagame’s victory in the recent presidential elections.
The celebrations jointly organised by the factory and Nyamagabe District were preceded by a tree planting exercise around the Kitabi Tea Factory premises.
Addressing the tea farmers and local residents who braved the chilly weather conditions, Makuza said people have a right to celebrate for what they achieved in the recent Presidential elections where they overwhelmingly voted for President Paul Kagame.
“Your words were put into action. I thank you because there are some people who wished that the recent elections end in chaos, through your vote,you announced to the world that you know what you want and showed it by the power of your vote,’ he said.
Makuza took a swipe at some sections of people who wished the elections degenerated into chaos. He said that this was wishful thinking and that it will always remain so.
“As Rwandans we have chosen unity and development, nothing will come in our way to achieve this,” said Makuza.
He called upon tea farmers to double their production to earn the country the much needed foreign exchange and cut on dependency on aid.
The Premier added that boosting tea production is top on the country’s agenda for the benefit of local farmers and country through a reduction on the country’s trade deficit.
Makuza said that the biggest challenge today was poverty which he said will only be eradicated through hard work. He added that government is supportive of efforts geared at improving the welfare of its citizens.
He welcomed the setting up a tea farmer’s cooperative which has pooled together over Rwf40million. He challenged tea farmers to put the credit and savings scheme to good use by investing in more income generating projects.
He called upon farmers to maintain the high quality of tea from the factory which he said is much sought after on the world market.
The day was also a celebration to mark the first anniversary since Kitabi Tea Company took up ownership of the factory from government after it was privatised in 2009.
Anthony Butera, the company board chairman, said that production has doubled since the takeover. From the previous 1200 tonnes, the company currently produces 2400 tonnes of processed tea per year. The company has also added 100 hectares to the existing tea plantations.
“We have achieved a lot in our first year of operation and we hope to achieve much more in the next seven years under the leadership of President Paul Kagame,” said Butera.
Tea farmers under the cooperative; KOBACYAMU own 10 percent shares in the factory and according to the cooperative’s president, Pascal Nsabimana, tea production has improved tremendously since the factory was privatised.
“In 2007 we were producing 4 tonnes of tea per hectare, in 2009 we produced 6 tonnes, our target now is to produce 9 tonnes per hectare,” said Nsabimana.
The celebrations were attended by among others; Labour Minister Anastase Murekezi, Southern Province Governor, Fidele Ndayisaba and the French Ambassador to Rwanda, Laurent Contini.