Two Rwandan tea companies, Gisovu and Kitabi, yesterday emerged among the best continental brands in the just concluded tea conference and exhibition organised by African Tea Association.
The competition, the first of its kind, was held in Mombasa, Kenya and attracted guest participants from Pakistan and Argentina.
At least 35 tea companies from various countries participated in the competition
Gisovu Tea Company was the best overall followed by Kenya Tea and Kitabi Tea, which emerged 3rd.
Only the top three companies were recognised at the event.
Dr Agnes Kalibata, the Minister of Agriculture, hailed the local companies for the triumph, saying that the victory is a result of the immense efforts that government has put in to ensure farmers produce quality tea.
“We have been sensitising our farmers on how to produce quality tea especially on how to handle it during harvest,” she said.
“This gives us confidence that our tea industry is expanding and will continue to grow.”
Kalibata further noted that Rwanda boasts of fertile land, which may have been another key factor.
In the competition, emphasis was put on the quality of tea in terms of taste and cleanness of the product.
The Minister said that government has introduced an initiative for tea farmers to access finance to invest into farming in order to encourage nationals to engage in tea farming.
“We want more people to participate in growing tea because the industry is expanding. That’s why we have initiated the scheme so that farmers get access to finance. Money is available and we think that we shall get more tea farmers,” Kalibata said.
She pointed out that the tea industry has developed and contributes to the economy. Last year, the industry earned US$68 million from exports saying that more efforts are needed to develop the industry further.