Greetings to all the people who have made it here today!
I thank all members of the cooperative, mostly tea growers, but on a special note, I thank Rudra Chatterjee, David Knopp, and those representing the Sir Ian Wood Foundation.
As you know Rudra is the Chairman of the Silverback Tea Company.
I recently met the three: Sir Ian Wood, David, Rudra and that day I promised that I would come and visit this factory. So, it’s my pleasure to have fulfilled my promise to them.
I thank you too, Rudra…
I also thank David for the long journey he made coming from India, I also came from Kigali for us to meet here. He was too fast.
I am happy that we are with those representing the Ian Wood Foundation, but also other leaders mainly those from Karongi district and the Western Province in general.
The Rugabano tea factory is important to the country because it employs many people who get profits, and the investors profit too. Everyone gets profits.
This means a lot to Rwanda. The tea used to be praised for its quality, but its quantity was not enough, it remained local. Our goal is to increase the quantity and quality through processing. The profitability also should be increased.
We don’t need to do much trying to prove the importance of this crop. Look at the plantations and the big number of people involved in tea growing… This says it all. And it won’t stop in Rwanda,
You are aware of the reputation we have now, Rwanda’s tea is among the best globally, not regionally, in terms of standards and taste.
We do not play around with this good opportunity we have but we should exploit it as we have all it takes. We have investors including Laxmi tea and the Wood Foundation, but they work closely with the Government.
This means we have all we need to increase the quantity, improve quality and keep the momentum of being among the best in the world. It should also increase in the ways it improves the well-being of the people around here, but this must go with the increasing number of tea plantations areas.
I appreciate the cooperation and everything that is being done in speeding up the development. The government will intervene and support where necessary like I mentioned before. The government is also one of the partners with other investors, especially when I went to the roads. Roads are one of the priorities, so we will work hard to find all possible ways to build those roads. The Minister in charge of Infrastructure is present and listening but also the government at large we will make sure this is done.
Cooperative members, those who grow the tea, I want you to work aiming at achieving your goals so that this motivates everyone.
I want to conclude on one item, I would like to inform the leaders of this district, particularly in this province, and everyone in this government, while coming here, I passed by a model village, well-constructed and seemed occupied. This was a great initiative, be it the establishment of this tea production in Rugabano, together with the partners I mentioned, even the process and ways of establishing that model village. All this was to facilitate citizens, and all that was for Rwandans.
When I passed by, I realized something was missing. Probably some of you do not see this but those residents, by the way, this does not concern employees and investors of Rugabano tea factory but us as Rwandans. I am not impressed by the way they seem to be living. There seems to be poverty and it is evident through the way they appear, and the area is not clean at all. I do not wish to see Rwandan citizens living in such conditions. Leaders in this district, this province, and all concerned leaders.
Minister Gatabazi in charge of Local government, I have mentioned this to you many times so I will try and follow up on this. I do not want to see it anywhere else.
I wish to see the Rwandans we support develop along the way, and it starts with you, and you must motivate them for their full participation. They ought to be clean, and have basic sufficient needs. This is what we aim at doing so that every Rwandan realizes where they have come from in terms of development.
These great things are evident to everyone since they are well established and are not supposed to be associated with undefined activities.
When I return, what we talked about will be among the main reasons I will come back, is it clear? That model village was constructed in 2017. We must know how those who reside are living. We need more reasons as to why they live the way they do. Why don’t leaders get concerned?
From today, leaders, this is going to be your priority for you to follow up as soon as possible. Today, I am telling this to you, but a person will not be repeating this same message, to leaders on what to do. They know what they oversee. I will not take a lot of time on these issues so that we do not mix up things on such a good day that has brought us together, but I am sure it has been noted.
I commend our partners. There is the Luxmi Tea and Wood Foundation. Let’s keep working together aiming at the development of our country.
Thank you very much.