Nyabihu tea plantations occupy a total of 1057.53 HA spread across twelve (12) sectors of Nyabihu District. Out of these, mature tea is on 710.38 HA and young tea is on 347.15 HA.
Nyabihu Tea Estate is situated in Western Province, Nyabihu District, in Karago Sector.
The tea estate is a part of Rubaya- Nyabihu Tea Company (RNTC).
In August 2006, through privatization, RMT acquired 90% ownership of the Nyabihu Tea Estate—comprised of tea plantations that occupied a total of 668Ha at the time, an eucalyptus forest occupying over 50Ha and a tea factory.
The rest of the shares (10%) belonged to the 200 tea out-growers organized under a tea cooperative called COOPTEGA.
Nyabihu Tea Estate embarked on a strategy that aimed at expanding the acreage of the plantation and increasing the yields through improved agricultural practices. The factory was extensively overhauled; including replacement of old machinery with new ones, buying new tea transportation trucks and expanding the withering section with new troughs. Much emphasis was put on improving productivity.
The Government has allocated a land totaling 288Ha under Gishwati area. Planting of new tea is underway and 117 Ha have been completed by the end of April 2016. The balance of 171 HA will be completed March 2017.
Total production of green leaf from both industrial Bloc and out-growers tea plantations has shifted from 3,744,373 Kgs in 2006 to 4,927,818 Kgs recorded in 2015.
Given the plantation’s expansion and increase of productivity, Nyabihu targets to pluck 5,600,247 Kgs of green leaf by 2016.
The main factor attributable to this impressive performance is sustainable good agricultural practices including regular weeding to eliminate competition for soil nutrients between tea and weeds, good harvesting practices (timely plucking, good pruning methods), training and motivation of tea pluckers, use of good inputs like fertilizers (NPK), regular pruning and bush sanitation, and pest and disease control.
Out-growers, through their cooperative are also regularly supported to apply the same farm inputs to ensure consistence in the quality and standards of green leaf supplied.
The Estate needs more land to grow more tea. The factory maximum installed capacity can process up to 70 tons a day, but it is processing under capacity due to insufficient supply of green leaf.