Female entrepreneur, Regina Nakayenga has launched hibiscus tea bags for health-conscious Ugandans.
Until Nakayenga’s Rena Beverages Solutions started packaging the tea bags, the healthy plant full of Vitamin C, Iron and antioxidants could only be found in popular food markets, sometimes kept in unhygienic and inconvenient containers and conditions while the other imported hibiscus products were found to be overly expensive. Rena’s 60-teabag box retails at Shs 25,000.
With the teabags, Nakayenga is targeting consumers interested in losing weight, and supporting healthy livers. According to Makerere University Business School (Mubs) principal who launched the teabags at SilverSprings hotel, scientific evidence shows that hibiscus can ease hip and joint pain, lower blood pressure, act as a pain killer for females during menstruation and also help with bowel constipation.
Former Agriculture minister Victoria Sekitoleko praised Nakayenga for her business resilience and patience, urging the youth to emulate her, saying she has come to a long way from marketing the hibiscus drink from her handbag to the car boot and now to well-packaged tea bags. Sekitoleke in fact encouraged Nakayenga to scale the growth of hibiscus in Busoga subregion saying, they are a bee attraction and that bees are needed to pollinate pumpkins and avocado plants that have been grown extensively by farmers there.
Nakayenga said she has already mobilised over 400 farmers in Tororo, Pallisa, Arua, Luwero, Nakaseke, Noya, Gulu and Kasese to “both to increase acreage and also to train them in post-harvest handling of hibiscus so that we can maintain quality and consistency in supply. In the next 5 years, we expect to have over 10,000 farmers involved in growing hibiscus”.
She added apart from supporting farmers with extension services, RENA Beverage Solutions will also offer solar dryers and bulk-processing hibiscus harvesters that are expected to help increase production capacity from the current 5-10 tons annually to 36 tons annually.
Source: The Observer