The funds for this two-year project, worth around US$165212, were mostly raised through Oikocredit’s West German Support Association.
In the MoU, Karongi and Muganza Kivu tea factories will take the lead in tea seedling production and Oikocredit International Support Foundation will cover the cost of production and capacity building activities which target smallholder tea farmers. Through capacity building, tea farmers will gain new skills in cultivating tea.
Karongi Tea Factory and its sister factory Muganza-Kivu source, process and market the green tea leaves coming from two farmer cooperatives Katecogro and Cothemuki. The two million seedlings will be distributed to 2,000 smallholder farmers who will be selected by Cothemuki and Katecogro. Participants will be equipped with skills on the best practices in tea farming through farm-based demonstrations and other practical learning methodologies.
The two factories have already signed agreements with their respective cooperatives to buy all the tea leaves that will be produced through this project.
Josiane Mutangana, managing director of Karongi and Muganza Kivu Tea Factories, said, “Tea seedlings play a major role in the development of a tea plantation in its early stages and later to fill the gaps that occur after planting.
“Due to its high cost of production and maintenance, these farmer cooperatives cannot afford to plant new seedlings regularly on their own. In the past we have invested our funds to develop tea seedlings which we have given to farmers, it is great to see Oikocredit joining us in this noble cause.”
Ging Ledesma, Oikocredit’s director of social performance innovation, added, “Oikocredit seeks to work with and support organisations that focus on helping disadvantaged people to sustainably improve their income. We are pleased to have found such partners as Karongi and Muganza Kivu Tea Factories. Both organisations are running programmes that give back to the farmers and communities where they work. I also extend my gratitude to the investors who contributed to this project and ensured we could increase our social impact in the Rwandan tea sector.”