KTC is located in Southern Province, Nyamagabe District, Kitabi Sector. It is about 178KMs from Kigali City. The estate sits on an altitude of about 2600 meters above sea level. RMT acquired 90% shares of the Kitabi Tea Estate through privatisation on 21st September 2015, the remaining 10 % shareholding are owned by a tea cooperative of outgrowers called COBACYAMU.
Kitabi Tea Estate comprised tea plantations occupying 1200HA, 350Ha belonging to the industrial block (BI) and 750HA owned by outgrowers (TV); an eucalyptus forest occupying about 500Ha and a tea factory.
Since privatisation, there has been tremendous increase in the acreage of KTC BI; soaring from 350Ha to 900Ha. TV plantations too have increased acreage from 750Ha to 850Ha.
In terms of production, total Green Leaf (GL) plucked has jumped from 1.9million Kgs in 2009 to 2.3million Kgs a year in 2014. Kitabi tea quality has likewise improved tremendously since privatization with Kitabi teas selling at top prices at the Mombasa auction market.
This mark is counted today among the top best black CTC tea in the whole world, scooping top best tea awards at regional and international cupping competitions. In 2013 Kitabi was awarded the best overall black CTC award at 2nd East African Tea Competition and in 2015 Kitabi received 2 awards for the best BP1 and the 2nd best PF1 at the North American Global Tea competition that took place in San Antonio, Texas.
The noted tea quality improvement has led notably to signature of a forward contract between RMT and a major UK- based blender, packager and trader of premium quality tea for regular supply of Kitabi tea. The mark is renowned globally and attracts good demand privately and through auction.
KTC has earmarked Busenyi tea plantation Block totalling 148Ha for organic tea production and has obtained 2 organic certificates for the European and American markets to trade organic black CTC tea from this block.
KTC has furthermore secured ISO 22000:2005 certification for its compliance with international standards of food production and packaging; and Rainforest Alliance certification for compliance with norms of protection of the environment. Production of Black tea CTC at KTC averages 2300 tons (2.3 million Kgs) per year.
KTC employs a total of 35 permanent staff and an average of 2, 000 casual workers per month. An MOU was signed between KTC and ISAE-Busogo Campus to keep supplying Estate with food scientists and agronomists as a means of providing further training to the young Rwandan graduates in tea production and manufacture.
The estate has highly skilled and specialized foreign tea experts from India, Tanzania and Siri Lanka who provide in-service training for local staff members and trainees alike. However, Kitabi faces a challenge of insufficient land for tea plantation expansion. It is difficult to obtain consolidated land from residents.
Giving Back to Kitabi Residents
Kitabi supports government social protection programs like Girinka. The Estate has built a Technical and Vocation Education Training (TVET) Centre in Ruhingi Sector, aimed at equipping children of Kitabi with life earning skills.
Finally KTC has partnered with Taylors of Harrogate, one of the main UK buyers of the Kitabi teas, to provide the needed technical agricultural skills to outgrowers through farmers’ feeder schools.