The Office du Thé du Burundi (OTB) has been promoting the production of high-quality tea in Burundi since 1965. This state-owned organisation, now set for privatisation, has 900 hectares of tea plantations throughout Burundi and works with tea farmers on an additional 2,000 hectares. OTB also operates five tea-production plants around the country to process tea from neighbouring plantations.
General Manager Anicet Tuyaga explains that OTB currently produces around 9,000 tonnes of several grades of black tea per year and achieves an annual turnover of around €20.7 million. “We want to double our production over the coming 10 years, and we can do this through improving the operations in our plantations,” he adds.
OTB has other ambitious goals, including obtaining ISO 9001 certification for all its plants. Anicet Tuyaga points out, “We want to increase capacity among our tea-growers and we would like to add value to our teas. There is enormous potential because Burundian tea is of very high quality thanks to our acidic soil and excellent growing conditions. Burundian tea has a flavour you will not find anywhere else in the world.”
Great potential for ‘made in Burundi’ tea
Because of its exceptional quality, Burundi tea has what it takes to make a name for itself in global markets. Currently around 3% of OTB’s tea is sold in the domestic market with the rest sold by auction in Mombasa, Kenya, and blended with other teas. Anicet Tuyaga says, “Our tea is added to teas from other countries to boost the quality of the blend. We would like to see our tea marketed abroad on its own as a true Burundian tea and recognised for its unique flavour.”
Forward-thinking investors will find an outstanding opportunity in OTB’s privatisation, since in addition to its excellent tea, the company has a very experienced management team as well as established plantations and plants. Anicet Tuyaga says, “I would like to see a proper, sustainable privatisation of OTB that will protect the rights of local farmers, upgrade our plants, increase our production and produce high-quality tea with a ‘made in Burundi’ label. We welcome foreign investors and can even adjust our processes to produce a tea that suits a company’s specific needs.” As the international tea industry continues to grow, OTB is a reliable source for a unique high-quality tea with a true taste of Burundi.