Strengthening the tea value chain in Rwanda

In Rwanda, IDH and The Wood Foundation Africa (TWFA) are working on a project that aims at strengthening the tea value chain. We are working with the Mulindi and Shagasha smallholder tea farmers through green leaf quality and yield enhancement, capacity development and training, and certification. In our SDM analysis, we have found that through investing in direct relationships with the farmers, the factories reach real and direct results to farmer’s income and positively influence farmer loyalty. The end goal of the project – handing over ownership to the smallholder farmers – ensured a professional and business focused model. Incentives are in place to improve yield, financial performance and governance. In this model, factories take ownership of ownership of capacity building at factory level and within coops, implementing best practice across all.

For the future, the biggest risk for the SDM is the changing climate in Rwanda. Also, a lack of crop diversification provides an opportunity for extending service packages to other crops, to help farmers overcome shocks such as price volatility.