Poverty Alleviation through Cleaner Energy from Agro-industries in Africa

Pilot Sites




Pilot Sites

Four pilot sites have been selected by EATTA on the basis of pre-feasibility studies carried out by IED. These sites have potential for developing small hydro potential to power both a tea factory and the surrounding communities.

Since the tea sector was liberalized in the early 1990s, investments in tea farming have been growing steadily. Due to increasingly lower international market prices being paid for tea, however, tea companies will today only invest in sectors that significantly reduce production costs.  

Investments in hydropower are viewed favourably where production costs are significantly lower than existing electricity tariffs or diesel generator costs, and the payback period is less than 5 years.  

The area of interest for PACEAA includes the Katumba Tea Factory, the upcoming Mwakaleli Tea Factory and the Suma hydro site, all located in Mbeya region in the South Western Corner of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The region lies at an altitude of 475 metres above sea level with high peaks rising to 3000 m. at Rungwe. The topography is characterised by large plateaus surrounding high peaks and ridges, bounded on all sides by escarpments or deeply dissected hill.  

Mbeya region is one of the most important areas in Tanzania for cash crops and responsible for 35 % of tea produced in the whole country. About 5 500 ha are under tea production, and population densities are among the highest in Tanzania at more than 130 people per square kilometre.  

The Nyabihu and Rubaya Tea Factories are located in the western and northern parts of Rwanda on the hilly slopes along the edges of Gishwati natural forest whose highest point is 3000 metres above sea level. Since 1980, tea has been grown both on the bases of large valleys and on the slopes of surrounding hills.  Nyabihu tea plantation belongs partly to one cooperative of 150 tea growers having together 30 hectares and partly to the industrial bloc covering 628 hectares. Rubaya, located close to Gaseke, 15 km from Nyabihu, has more than 1000 hectares of tea crops. More than 4000 workers are employed during the peak season. PACEAA will focus on a potential hydro site close to both tea factories, known as Giciye.

Tea has been grown commercially in Malawi since the 1880s and the country is thesecond largest producer in Africa after Kenya. Malawi accounts for around 4 percent ofannual world exports (c. 40 000 tons) compared to Kenya, which has 18 percent (c.180 000 tons). Traditionally, tea has been the second most important export earner for the country, with an estimated 42,000 employees supporting an estimated 300,000 people.

Today, large commercial estates account for 93% of production, with the remainder grown by some 6 500 smallholders. Most of the estates are based in the districts of Mulanje and Thyolo.

The area of interest for PACEAA is the Mulanje tea growing area in the Southeastern part of Malawi, which is in the vicinity of Mulanje city and along the border with Mozambique. The area includes the 2000m Mulanje Mountain on the Lichenya plateau. The Ruo Upstream hydro site has been identified as having the potential to meet the demand for power over an area of about 200 km2 covering four tea factories that are members of EATTA.  

Tea was introduced in Kenya in 1903 and expanded from 21,500 hectares in 1963 to 114,000 hectares in 1997. Today, tea is Kenya’s main export crop and represents 80% of total tea production in East Africa, with industry revenues approaching US$500 million 

Currently the small-scale growers under the umbrella of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) account for sixty percent of the total tea production while the multinational sector and large-scale growers account for the remaining forty percent. The PACEAA project will focus on one potential small-hydro site, called Kipkurere, in the  Nandi Hills The Nandi Hills are located in the West of Rift Valley and can be characterized by gentle rolling hills with varying altitudes of 1,800 and 2,200 metres above sea level, close to protected forest areas, whose highest peaks are around 2,500 metres above sea level.


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