Ntingwe Tea

Ntingwe Farming (Pty) Ltd was registered in 1970 as a holdings company for Ntingwe Tea Estate, which was later established in 1987. Ntingwe Tea Estate lies in a deep rural area approximately 34 kilometres from Nkandla town, and approximately 61 kilometres from Kranskop. The property where Ntingwe Tea Estate operates is owned by the Ingonyama Trust Board and falls under Nkandla Local Municipality.

Planting tea at Ntingwe commenced in 1987 and evolved from an initial 50 Hectares research project. Trials were very successful and proved that this locality was highly suited for the production of superior quality tea. In 1993, a decision was taken to finally develop Ntingwe Tea Estate and establish a 584 Hectares of tea by the year 2004. This is the first tea venture in South Africa that was aimed exclusively at the export market, setting a huge challenge as a pioneer in the South African Tea Industry.

Ntingwe Tea Estate lies deep within the tranquil and wooded hills of Zululand, in a province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Where, the cool climate, acidic soils, and high altitude promote the slow growth associated with the world’s finest teas.

The aims and objectives of the project

Ntingwe Tea Estate aims to produce superior quality teas that can compete with most established brands in the market in terms of flavour, briskness, and quality. Additionally, Ntingwe Tea aims to be the employer of choice in Nkandla and contribute to the development and upliftment of the surrounding communities.

The organizational structure

Ntingwe Farming (Pty) Ltd is jointly owned by the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development which holds 62% shares, and Ithala Development and Finance Corporation that owns 38% shares. The Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) got involved with Ntingwe Tea Estate after the KZN provincial Cabinet resolved that 38% of IThala shares be transferred to the ADA, and thereafter the ADA should provide strategic management and leadership for Ntingwe Tea Estate.

Job creation

Ntingwe Tea Estate was established to provide employment opportunities in a deeply impoverished rural area outside Nkandla, so as to provide sustainable livelihoods for people residing in the area. Ntingwe Tea Estate employs approximately 500 people, increasing to about 1250 people during the picking season. It has been reported that economic development in areas where tea plantations are located have had an impact on the geo-ecological and socio-economic conditions of the people in the locations of the tea estates. Ntingwe Tea Estate is seen as an engine of economic growth for the community of Nkandla area, one of the poorest areas of KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Community involvement

Community involvement and participation is mainly on the supply of labour. Community leaders are always briefed on changes taking place in the estate. Ntingwe is looking for more ways in which community can be involved in Ntingwe such as in supply of other production inputs other than labour.

Project milestones to date

Ntingwe Tea Estate produced high quality tea which was sold in bulk on the London Tea Market over the past years from its initiation up to 2005.
Ntingwe Tea was ranked among the Top 5 Best Tea’s in the world by Taylors of Harrogate.
Ntingwe Tea successfully set up a green tea processing plant, and is the only green tea processing tea factory in the country, albeit as a trial plant.
Ntingwe was selling its teas at Woolworth Foods retail stores as a high-quality product.

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