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Tea plucking professionalism, key to improve tea quality.

Methods that boost fast the tea quality include well plucking of the leaves of the cash crop. In 2012, NAEB in partnership with Rwandan tea factories embarked on venturing into tea quality by enhancing best agricultural practices. NAEB, an organization in charge of developing the tea industry among other things, set a goal of training 5,000 tea pluckers per year since then.

It is well known that the tea pluckers' training and expertise are directly related to the quality of the tea picked. This activity is all year round done because tea harvesting is not seasonal in nature though its intensity might vary from season to season. This implies that the trainings are also conducted throughout the year.

Tea pluckers require such training not only to learn what the adeptness is and when the best time to harvest is. Picking too early, for example, results in low yields, while picking too late has a negative impact on quality. This farm-field school enables trainees to learn everything about the life of a tea plantation. Professional plucking is a methodical process. It necessitates excellent hand-eye coordination, dexterity, accuracy, focus, and speed. Tea leaves quality raised to 65% currently from 58% in 2012.

A plucker typically picks between 20 and 25 kilograms of green leaves per day, yielding between 5 and 8 kilograms of tea. The above plucking speed has improved to 30 and 40 kilograms per day.

Professional pluckers, on the other hand, who complete a five-day intense training program will eventually pass on their knowledge to their tea estate colleagues.

In total, above 50,000 tea pluckers were trained, and the exercise significantly improved Rwanda Tea's quality standard, which continues to lead to its high value and, as a result, increased income. Revenues climbed from USD61.8 million in the fiscal year 2014/2015 to USD90 million in the fiscal year 2020/2021. Respectively, from USD2.49/Kg to USD2.62/Kg, the average price has increased.