When Sangwani Hara, chairman of the Malawi Tea Association took a delegation of five colleagues on a visit to Rwanda, he was full of praise for the way Rwanda runs its tea industry. He said that his team was “enlightened and learned a lot from the steps that Rwanda’s tea industry has made in its evolving years.”
He praised the agricultural structure, and commented, “Rwanda has a good agriculture performance model that we can learn from to improve our tea sector.”
Malawi is the second-largest tea producer in Africa (Kenya is the largest) and the visit will enable the Malawians to benefit from experiences of Rwanda’s tea farmer co-operatives, ownership, and management of tea factories, policy-making and regulations, gender equality, and farmer empowerment.
But George William Kayonga, Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) chief executive officer, said that the visit was also an opportunity for Rwanda to learn from the Malawians on tea industry development. “NAEB will use the interaction and knowledge gained from the visitors to find ways to advance the local tea sector’s performance. Therefore, building a strong relationship with the continent’s largest tea producers will benefit Rwandan farmers.”