Prothem-Usine s.a is an acronym that stands for Mwaro Tea Promotion. The founder, Hon. Epitace Bayaganakandi, with a group of farmers and promoters, launched a tea growing project in 2002. The founder's vision was to alleviate poverty and economically empower small farmers in Mwaro Province. They set up tea nurseries and introduced the tea plantation in the area. In 2007, Prothem-Usine SA was registered as a private tea company with the promoters contributing to the initial capital and the construction of a tea factory in Gisozi near the ISABU (Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Burundi), at 70 km from the capital, Bujumbura. It began operations in April 2011 as the first private tea factory in Burundi with a capacity to process more than 6 million Kgs of green leaves and 1.5 million Kgs of made tea.
Prothem-Usine s.a currently supports more than 10,500 small-scale producers in five sectors, including Gisozi, Ijenda, Rusaka-Ndava, Makamba and Bisoro-Mugamba. Logistic support for the green leaf collection is provided by factory trucks and other contracted trucks. The collection of the leaf is managed by sheds and collection centers. The processed tea is sold directly to local and international markets, as well as through the Mombasa auction of the East African Tea Trade Association..
Prothem has a permanent dedicated workforce of 82 people with 200 other workers engaged as seasonal workers at the plant, plantations and tea extension projects and support over 50,000 people in the rural area directly and indirectly as farmers, employees and suppliers.