Kigali, 10 November 2016
President Kagame today received Sir Ian Wood, CEO of The Wood Foundation that is active in Rwanda in the Tea industry. Sir Wood is in the country to assess the progress of already established projects in the industry and to look at probabilities of expansion.
Speaking after meeting President Kagame, Sir Wood said:
“We are in the middle of a very significant expansion. Our business is helping small holder tea farmers. Rwanda has got a very good reputation for high quality tea and it’s an industry with a lot of room for expansion to have a lot of impact on rural communities. About 4 years ago we invested in 2 factories, one in Mulindi and another in Sagasha. We made a big investment over time working with cooperatives with small holder farmers where we provide a training programme. This month we are graduating 1600 farmers who we have been training.
He said that with the foundation’s vast experience over the years, the project has been able to reach and work with about 10,000 small holder farmers within Mulindi and Sagasha and have similar big operations in Tanzania.
Sir Wood also said that the foundation is partnering in a new project with Uniliver where they are building a where they would be working with about 5000 farmers.
“It will be a new tea area with significant areas of planting. We are looking to develop 3400 hectares. It is in an area which has previously not had a lot of employment and they have also not been able to grow other crops. We are very hopeful that it will make a lot of contribution to that area. We have a similar project coming up in another area.”
Sir Wood appreciated the support accorded to the Foundation by the Rwanda Government and said the state was very much behind the idea of expanding tea farming in the country.