MAMBILA BEVERAGES NIGERIA LIMITED COMPANY’S HANDBOOK
HISTORY OF THE PROJECT
In 1972, the Federal Military Government, through the then Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, commissioned an Italian Company called Livestock Development Company (LIDECO) to “study the agricultural productive potential of the Mambilla Plateau in the context of the Nigerian Economy”.
The Report of the survey was published in 1973 as “Recommendation for Tea Production” in Annex II of the Federal Government Report: “Survey of the Agricultural Productive Economy”. It contained recommendations for among other things the development of three nucleus commercial tea estates, the first one of which was to be located at Ardo Gori, and included plans for farmer’s participation with cost estimates.
In 1974, approval was given for the development of the first estate at Ardo Gori/Kakara and a 171/2 months contract was awarded to LIDECO organization to import suitable tea varieties from Kenya, and establish parent clonal stocks of these. The plants were imported in four airlifts during July – November 1975 under stringent quarantine conditions. A land area of about 700 hectares was acquired at Ardo Gori by the defunct North Eastern State Government for the development of the first tea estate in Nigeria.
At the initial Stages, the project was financed by the Federal Military Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development up to the middle of 1975. In March 1975 a company, the NIGERIAN BEVERAGES PRODUCTION COMPANY LIMITED was incorporated to take over the tea project. In 2012, Nigerian Beverages Production Company was auctioned as a result of financial problem with her creditors. The same year, Taraba State Government bought the assets of the Company and registered it as Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited, to manage the tea estate.
MAMBILA BEVERAGES NIGERIA LIMITED
In 1975, Nigerian Beverages Production Company Limited was incorporated into a Private Limited Liability Company with an initial share capital of 400,000 shares of #100 each. In 1977, the shares were increased from 400,000 to 1,500,000 shares of #1.00 each and in 1981; the shares were increased again to 5,000,000 shares of #1.00. With the registration of Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited, the Share Capital was N500,000,000.
Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited is owned 100% by Taraba State Government. The defunct Nigerian Beverages Production Company had financial problems with her trade creditors and the company was auctioned leading to Taraba State Government buying over the assets of the Company. The Company’s products – Highland Tea and Highland Green Tea are 100% made in Nigeria products.
The Company was incorporated mainly to achieve the following objectives:-
- To carry on the business of developers, cultivators, producers and manufacturers of tea, coffee, cocoa, all forms of beverages and derivatives thereof, foodstuffs, oils vegetable products, foods, chemicals and all manner of consumer goods whether edible or not.
- To co-ordinate the activities of beverages farmers with a view to encourage small scale plantation schemes.
- To carry on the business of general distribution of all forms of beverages in Nigeria.
00.3 MANAGEMENT AGENCY
After the company was incorporated in 1975, it did not have Independent Management of its own. It was therefore placed under the Management Agency of Nigerian Agricultural Promotions Company Ltd. (NAPC) – a subsidiary company of New Nigeria Development Company Limited, based in Kaduna.
In 1978, a full General Manager of the company was appointed, and the Administrative Headquarters of the company was transferred from Kaduna to Yola in the same year. The new management therefore took over the responsibilities of the company and the project from the Managing Agents.
Nigerian Beverages Production Company Limited that was incorporated in 1975 to take over the Management of the Tea Company. A Board of Directors was constituted to oversee the Management. Nigerian Beverages Production Company Limited continued to manage the tea Company till her liquidation and subsequent auctioning of her assets.
Taraba State Government bought the assets of the Nigerian Beverages Production Company Limited in 2012 and registered Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited. Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited is 100% owned at present by Taraba State Government.
In September 2012, after registering Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited with the Corporate Affairs Commission, a new Management emerged with the appointment of a Sole Administrator that took over the management of the new Company. This was facilitated by the intervention of the Reserve Programme of His Excellency, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku, the Executive Governor of Taraba State.
In order to achieve the above objectives, the company requires a very sound and effective organizational structure. Being a government business enterprise (GBE) the Taraba State Government has a lot of say in matters of policy affecting the company. The policy formulation of the Company is vested with the Board of Directors comprising of:-
- The Chairman – who is Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
- The Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Justice
- The permanent Secretary – Ministry of Commerce
- The Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Agriculture
- The Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning
- The Managing Director – Taraba Investment & Properties Limited (TRIP)
- The Managing Director – Mambila Beverages Nigeria Ltd.
The day to day administration of the company’s activities is under the leadership and supervision of the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer who is the company’s Chief executive. The company has five (5) Operational Departments namely:-
- Personnel & Administration Dept – Headed by the Head of Administration.
- Estate Department – Headed by Assist Gen. Manager (Estate)
- Production & Engineering Dept. – Headed by (AGM P & E)
- Marketing Department – Headed by Head of Marketing
- Finance & MIS Department – Headed by Head of Finance.
The activities of these departments are neatly coordinated at the center by the Managing Director/ CEO.
From the inception of the project, up to the time of Incorporation, the Federal Government had been the major financier of the project. It was however assisted largely by the then North Eastern state Government and the New Nigeria Development Company Limited.
After incorporating the company into a legal entity in 1975, the responsibility of financing the project was shared among the share-holders by way of payment of equity and in some cases loans and grants from the Federal Government.
The major financing of the development of the Tea Estate, construction of Tea factory and purchase and installation of the Tea factory machines provided by the Nigerian Agricultural and Co-operative Bank (NACB) in form of long term loan.
In 1993 – 1996, the European Economic Union gave the Company some financial grant which resulted to expansion of the tea hectares to 600, built a 10.26 million cubic metres Dam for irrigation, modernized some machines in the factory and constructed a 14 Km tarred road from Nguroje to Kakara.
From September 2012, the Company’s financial activities were carried out by proceeds from Tea sales. In 2014, the Taraba State Government granted some loans to help the Company modernize the factory and expand the farm.
BLACK TEA PROCESSING
In November, 1979 a contract was awarded to SAHEL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY to build, equip, and bring into operation a tea processing factory on the Estate.
The contract was completed in 1982; trial production was carried out between January and March. By first April of the same year the management took over factory fully equipped with processing machines, and retail packaging line. The factory is also equipped to pack bulk tea into tea bags and cartons of 25kgs capacity and more. The factory is designed to produce 1,600,000kgs of black tea per annum.
THE PROCESS OF TEA MANUFACTURE
Tea is manufactured in three main ways, namely:-
The CTC – (Curl tear and cut) method and
The orthodox method
The Lawrie Tea Processor method (LTP)
The former is the method used in the Mambila Tea Factory.
The process of Tea manufacture starts with plucking. The young shoots which grow quickly are plucked, every seven (7) to fourteen (14 days. Only the leaf bud plus the top two (2) leaves (two leaves and a bud) are plucked – these young, soft shoots make the best tea. The plucked shoots are carried in a plucking basket to a collection point for checking and weighing. It is then transported by special green leaf trailers to the Factory.
(b) LEAF RECEPTION
The green leaf from the field is received and weighed at the factory. After weighing, the leaf is spread in TROUGHS. The Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited troughs measure 8ft by 30 ft and carries up to 600kgs of green leaf each. There are altogether 48 of such troughs.
The purpose of withering is to remove moisture from the freshly plucked leaf so that it will distort and twist better during the subsequent stages of manufacture. The moisture content is reduced to about 68% – 72% for 8-16 hours depending on weather conditions by blowing cool or warm air through the leaf using reversible fans attached to the troughs.
The withered leaf is subjected to mechanical treatment to rapture the leaf cells and cut the leaf into smaller sizes using CTC machine which results in crashing, tearing and curling actions on the leaf.
This involves the enzymic oxidation of the polyphenols resulting in the production of the aflavins and which import the desirable flavor and quality in the cup. Humidified air is blown through the dhool on the CFM (machine) and the process takes about 80 minutes.
The fermented dhool is taken to VFBD (dryer) for drying at 1300c inlet and 850c outlet temperatures to evaporate the moisture content and terminate the chemical reaction that occurred during fermentation for a period of 15 minutes. At the end table product with 2-3% moisture content is produced.
(g) SORTING AND GRADING
This process has to do with the removal of fibre using presorted machines fitted with PVC rollers and thereby grading the tea according to sizes like BP (Broken Pekoe), PF (Pekoe Faninnings) and DI (Dust).
(h) PACKING AND PACKAGING
Tea packing in the factory are of two forms:-
- Bulk packing is in bags and it is packed according to the recovered grades, BP (30kgs), PF and DI (40kgs).
- Tea bagging is being packed in a packet of 25 tea bags with a net weight of 50g.
(i) QUALITY CONTROL
At every process of manufacture, the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are strictly adhered to in order to produce standard products to the customers.
Tea produced at the Mambila Estate is marked under the brand name ‘HIGHLAND TEA’. Distributors are appointed to handle the sales operations in various States of the Federation.
VARIETIES OF MAMBILA BEVERAGES NIGERIA LIMITED TEA
The choice of varieties of Mambila Beverages Limited Tea consists of those restricted to the African Continent. There is no access to varieties of tea seed from the Far East because of the total prohibition of Imports of Tea planting materials from outside Africa imposed by the Inter-African Phytosanitary Committee.
All the imports into Nigeria have been of live tea plants (cuttings) under Kenya export licence, Kenyan Government export permits, and the Federal Government of Nigeria imports permits.
CHARACTERISTICS OF TEA PLANTS
Tea is a flowering plant belonging to the camellia (Camellia Sinensis) family. It is grown either from seeds or by gravitative propagation. In a completely wild state, it can eventually become a tree often growing to 30 ft and useless for tea production. By constant pruning and shaping, it is kept at between 3 and 4 feet high and once mature, a tea plant has a life span of up to 50 years or more.
Tea requires an annual rainfall of at least 1400mm but can grow adequately on areas with less rainfall with mists and cloud for some parts of the year. The optimum rainfall is between 2000mm – 2500mm.
The average rainfall figure for Mambilla Plateau where Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited Tea is grown is over 1860 mm. The Tea is grown between the altitudes of 1500 mm – 2200mm. Above this, Tea is liable to frost damage. Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited Tea is grown at an altitude of between 1450 and 1550m above mean sea level.
Tea requires a well drained fertile soil having a depth of at least 1.8m. The soil should be slightly acidic with PH of between 4.0 and 6.0 ideal PH is 5.0 – 5.6. Above this, the calcium restricts use of the potassium and below this phosphates become locked in. If the slope of land is more than 30o then expensive conservation measures will be necessary.
The Mambila Tea Estate is situated in valleys and on hills with a very good loam soil with depth of 1.8m. Below this is a clay soil which is unsuitable for Tea. Hill slopes have up to 30cm deep of soil characteristics which is debilitated of all nutrients. Below 30cm is lateritic soil which hinders roots penetration into greater depths.
THE TEA ESTATE
Beginning from November 1976, series of contracts were awarded to LIDECO, an Italian Company now incorporated in Nigeria as Agricultural Livestock and Technical Services (ALTS) for the development of a 450 hectares tea estate. By the end of 1980, 288 hectares of land had been planted with tea at Ardo-Gori, while 162 hectares were developed in Kusuku. The twin estates formed the first phase of the tea development programme of the country.
From 1994 – 1996, the European Economic Commission through the European Development Fund awarded a contract to HVA / BOHEA to expand the tea garden and Out-growers. The Mambila Tea Integrated Development Project expanded an additional 88 hectares of Tea in Kusuku and another 118 hectares at Bangoba. The three estates now form the first and second phase of tea development programme in the country. Covering 600 hectares under the Company and more than 800 under the Out growers’ Scheme distributed in 27 villages within a radius of 20 kilometres.
The third and fourth phases will involve developing another additional 400 hectares at Bangoba and Lowland tea at Abong in Kurmi Local Government Area of Taraba State.
GREEN TEA MANUFACTURE
In 2008, some staff of the defunct Nigerian Beverages Production Company attended a training course in China and got the idea of producing green tea. The staff relayed the information to the Quality Control Unit of the Company who religiously carried out various production tests and perfected Green Tea production. Today, the company is manufacturing farm blended green tea into pouches. At the moment, the MBN Ltd produces on the average of 100Kgs made green tea per day.
Below is the production process of Highland Green Tea:-
This involves the removal/picking of leaf and bud shoot of a tea plant from the farm.
This is a process that involves the gradual reduction of leaf moisture to between 70 – 80%. Air is blown into the leaves on the withering troughs for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the humidity level to achieve the process which the leaf is then packed for steaming or de-enzyming.
The process of de-activating the enzyme Polyphenol oxidase in the leaf and also make the leaf soft for rolling. This involves the use of De-enzyming machine at a temperature of 2000c for 3-5 minutes at which the leaf is said to have been steamed or de-enzymed.
Is a process where the steamed Green Leaf is rapture to expose its surface area and shaped to allow extraction of the tea juice and the desired shape. The rolling time depends on the shape and size of the tea you want to have.
This is the process that involves gradual moisture removal from the rolled tea to give a stable tea product with good keeping quality. The dryer operates at 900c outlet and 1200c inlet temperature to achieve the drying state of the product.
The packing process involves the weighing of the dried tea, into pack at 50g/pack and sealed using vacuum sealing machine at a vacuum time of 30 seconds; sealing time of 25 second and cooling time of 2.0 seconds.
Handle the sales operations in various States of the Federation.
The intervention of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Taraba State, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku, the tea Company was revived after the registration of Mambila Beverages Nigeria Limited. The Company installed and commissioned 400 kilowatts of small Hydro-electric Power Project which supplies 24 hours energy for her machineries.
The Curl, Tear and Cut (CTC) machines and a Green Tea machines (the only indigenous Green Tea machine) were also imported, installed and commissioned and are producing world class tea.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
- Write ups by Mr. E. Hainsworth
Mambila Tea Project.
- The Tea Council Publications.