Farmers harvesting tea in one of the tea plantations in Rwanda
Tea harvesters at Nyabihu tea factory are demanding for pay rise.
A tea harvester at Nyabihu tea factory is paid Rwf22 per kilogramme of tea he or she supplies to the factory.
The harvesters at the factory are decrying this low payment because it does not match the current market prices nor does it match the value of the Rwandan franc.
The plea has however, also spilled over to other workers at the tea plantations who are also demanding a pay rise.
When Nyabihu tea factory was opened, it was considered an answer to the prayers of area residents who own tea plantations. Many of these casual laborers also work at the Tea factory’s plantations.
However things took a tumbling turn when the casual laborers began complaining that the payment they get from the factory for a kilo of tea does not match the value of the Rwandan Franc.
For a kilo of fresh tea leaves, the laborers are paid Rwf22. In a month they manage to get around Rwf6, 000, this according to them is meager.
“We work for the factory, we harvest but the money they pay is too little, we get Rwf5, 000 sometimes Rwf5, 500. You can’t even buy anything to wear; we spend all of it on food. We just work to survive for the day,” said a tea harvester in an interview with radio Rwanda.
He added that in a month he gets around 6,000 and “when I buy a kilo of maize and beans I spend 3,000, I cannot pay for the local medical insurance, because I spend the money on food.”
The management of the Tea factory was however quick to note that they are aware of the wage imbalance and are prepared to lodge a request to relevant authorities.
“It’s not up to the factory, the factory does not fix the prices, but there is a standard nationally. When they bring high quality tea, they get more, if not then they earn less”.
Nyabihu tea factory has 7 mini tea plantations with a total size of 792 hectares and 84 ha cultivated by area residents.