Rubaya Tea Estate is situated in Western Province, Ngororero District, in Muhanda Sector. The Estate is part of Rubaya Nyabihu Tea Company (RNTC). In August 2006 RMT acquired 90 % shares of Rubaya Tea Estate, the remaining 10% shares being held by Cotragagi, a cooperative of local tea growers.
The Rubaya Tea Estate comprised 835Ha of BI plantations and 400Ha belonging to the cooperative of tea outgrower comprising 8,300 members; a tea factory and 348 Ha of fire wood forest.
The aim of RMT was to triple the build in capacity of Rubaya Tea Factory. To this end, there was extensive rehabilitation of the factory, involving replacement of old machinery with new ones and major renovations on the factory building.
Tea Processing was upgraded from manual manufacturing to automated manufacturing—involving installation of two lines of Continuous Fermentation Units (CFU).
Before privatization 1Ha of Rubaya tea fields would yield roughly 6,000 tons of GL per year. Today it has increased to 8,000 tons of GL. By 2016, yields are projected to increase further to 9,000 tons of GL per HA.
Increase in GL yields is attributed to consistent increase in size of tea plantations and good agricultural practices like regular weeding, use of adequate fertilizers, pruning and periodical plucking closely monitored and supervised by trained agronomists.
Rubaya Tea Estate targets to till up to 1, 000Ha of tea plantations over the next 3 years. However, the challenge is to find consolidated land to buy because most residents still own fragmented plots of land and are hesitant to sell.
In terms of production of Made Tea, it has increased from 1, 200 tons in 2007 to 2, 000 tons a year in 2014. Rubaya Tea Factory produces both Black CTC Tea for export and Green tea for the domestic market. Rubaya intends in the near future to start mass production of green tea for world market.
Benefits to Residents
Rubaya Tea Estate employs 230 permanent staff and an average of 1,500 casual workers a month. RMT gives cooperative members fertilizers at subsidized price and favourable payment terms.
The tea estate organizes on annual basis a farmers’ day to award best farmers with cows and goats to boost their incomes. Rubaya Tea Estate supports education in Muhanda Sector and has built a school called Ecole Primaire de Muhanda. It also supports government programs like Girinka (One cow per poor family).