Purely 100% Organic RMT/Rutsiro Tea Factory, or Rutsiro Tea Factory in brief, located in Rutsiro District, is the newest of RMT tea estates. The very young tea gardens occupying 289Ha were planted in 2008/09 and used to be manned by OCIR-THE.
Through privatisation, RMT Ltd obtained 100% shares in the tea gardens in a deal that was sealed in 2012. RMT also acquired 66Ha of Eucalyptus Forests. From the onset, RMT strategized to make all tea plantations in Rutsiro 100% organic.
Tea outgrowers in Rutsiro have over 1000Ha tea plantations which are not yet fully mature. Their gardens are 100 % organic as well. RMT supports the Rutsiro tea outgrowers in obtaining the quite costly organic fertilizers.
Building of Rutsiro Tea Factory by RMT started in 2012, shortly after the takeover of the tea plantations, and was completed in 2014. Full processing of tea started in May 2014.
By design, the installed capacity of Rutsiro tea factory is 75tons per day, but due to the low green leaf production the facility was readjusted to handle 30tons a day. Under 10tons green leaf are processed on average per day because the gardens are still immature. Rutsiro Tea Factory receives an average of between 5 and 7tons of green leaf a day, thus in terms of exports, the factory produces 1 container of 13tons in two weeks.
Rutsiro Tea Factory makes mainly Black CTC but has installed 2 lines for production of Green and Orthodox tea, which will be fully operational in 2016. The company is strategically trying to explore new markets for tea leveraging on the growing domestic demand and specialized international markets in Europe, USA and Middle East.
Rutsiro outgrowers are grouped under a cooperative of 2,072 members, Rutegroc. They currently produce about 1.5tones of green tea on their 1000Ha plantations every day with hope of expanding their tea plantations to 1276Ha.
The government has encouraged residents in Rutsiro District to engage in extensive commercial tea farming and many of them have benefited financial support from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) to grow more tea.
RMT Ltd is also separately working to expand plantations in Rutsiro by at least 200Ha by end of 2016. Over the next 5 years, it is projected that over 2,500Ha of outgrowers’ plantations would have been achieved. That will ensure full production capacity of the factory— receiving 70tones of green leaf per day.
Rutsiro Tea Factory has sufficient staff in all technical production domains. They are highly skilled and experienced. The factory employs 11 permanent staff, and over 1,000 casual workers. As the production and operations increase, more staff members will be recruited.
Giving Back to Rutsiro Residents
Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives by Rutsiro Tea Factory include, but are not limited to; constructing access roads which has benefited residents to access markets; supporting local schools, government programs such as Girinka that gives cattle to vulnerable families, and support to outgrowers to acquire health insurance (Mutuelle de santé).