Rwanda Tea Authority, yesterday, assembled all tea stakeholders to elect a six-member committee to oversee the newly launched Tea Association of Rwanda.
The Director General of Rwanda Mountain Tea, Ephraim Turahirwa, was elected chairman to lead other representatives from six groups including tea growers, blenders and packers, tea cooperatives, factories and industrial groups.
“We have been dealing with issues individually, but since we now have an association, our efforts to confront challenges will be combined,” Turahirwa said.
He promised to bring together stakeholders in promoting the sector saying this would help them speak in one voice.
Antoine Butera, the Director General of Rwanda Tea Authority, highlighted the expectations of the team, saying it would represent stakeholders at every level in addressing issues that would promote the sector.
“This is a mechanism to empower you (stakeholders) so as deal with challenges especially in the light of the privatisation drive in the sector,” Butera noted, adding that this was the main aim of setting up the team.
He said that although the sector had achieved a lot, in the last 17 years, there is need to even work harder.
“We now have 19,000 hectares for tea up from 12,000 hectares in 2003. Production has also increased to 22,000 metric tonnes from 17, 000 metric tones while earning raised to US$ 58 million from US 23 million annually,” Butera noted.