Karongi Tea Farmers Reap Big From New Government Deal

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This IDP model village project, which sits on a 4000ha piece of land, will be a replica of Rweru model village and will be implemented in collaboration with the ministry of Local Government.

Karongi farmers are all smiles with the double benefits they will reap from a new tea project but also walk away with comfortable high end houses after striking an exchange deal with government.

With full cooperation farmers exchanged their family land for a major tea growing project which is underway in the western province in Karongi district.

Government officials, this January 26 launched the Internally Displaced (IDP) Village Model in Rugabano Tea site where the houses are under construction. The cost of one house will be worthy 45,448,000Rwf and the 35 houses will cost 1.6 billion francs

“It is all smiles for me and other residents as we cannot wait to sleep under iron roofed houses; no more worries in the rainy season” said Pascal Gashyekero one of the former occupants of land where the tea plantation is to be established.

This IDP model village project, which sits on a 4000ha piece of land, will be a replica of Rweru Model Village and will be implemented in collaboration with the ministry of Local Government (Minaloc) and the National Agriculture and Export development Board (NAEB).

“This initiative of a model village is in the framework of promoting proper human settlements and developing rural areas” a statement from NAEB said.

In the first phase, NAEB will construct 35 houses of a Four-in-One design that will accommodate 140 families which will be completed in June this year. The second phase see 45 houses constructed and this will be determined later.

Once the tea plantation gets underway, 400 hectares of tea produce are expected to be harvested from the tea project to add to the national demand.

With 14 tea factories, Rwanda plans to increase the area under tea to 38,000 hectares from 25,308 hectare currently, and the average yields to nine tones per hectare for fresh leaves from 6.7 metric tonnes.

Revenue from tea, the second largest export crop after coffee dropped to $52.7 million last year, from significantly down from $62.2 million in 2015, as quantities produced remained flat while the quality of green leaf was low.

Tea growing areas experienced low rains from June-August. Low prices also contributed to the fall in revenue. Tea sold for an average $2.53 per kg in 2016, compared with 2.90 per kg in 2015.

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