‘Tea talk’ has become a big debate in greater northern Uganda.
The greater north was known for farming cotton, tobacco, simsim, millet and sorghum, to mention but a few.
In less than a decade, talks are now focusing on tea farming, multiplication, processing and value addition.
Who is making people talk? The Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative Limited – is the key player in ensuring northern Uganda – who went through years of war waged by warlord Joseph Kony that led to untold poverty, rise up again.
The foundation, through its Executive Director – Edwin Atukunda Beekunda is doing everything possible to mobilise, sensitize, train and interest many people into tea farming.
With its modern tea nursery bed located in Rugore prisons, Acholi sub-region, trained farmers are able to access it (seedlings) anytime. This is also helping prevent potential delays in transportation from Western Uganda.
In Oyam district alone, the foundation has trained, supported over 200 people from Loro sub-county who are now tea farmers.
Cultural support, ‘tea partnership’
Talking to TND News at the weekend, The Edwin Foundation director, Mr. Edwin Atukunda Beekunda says he received overwhelming support from Alur Kingdom to train her subjects on tea farming.
This comes after exhibitions during West Nile Business Symposium held at Muni University last week.
“The foundation has been given full powers to spearhead tea development in Zombo,” he told TND News.
“All tea farmers in the district will be trained by the foundation on general tea management, value addition and marketing of tea products,” added.
Alur Kingdom speaks
In a telephone interview with this contemporary online newspaper on Sunday, Rt. Hon. Ochaya Orach Vincent – the Prime Minister (Jadipu) Alur Kingdom says: “We are trying to do the things differently. He (Edwin) came to give us advise on tea, showing us how to manage tea, value chain and make profitable tea farming.”
Mr. Orach, who’s also the Head of Business in the Kingdom, added that Edwin was more impressive from day one.
In attendance, witnessing how tea is managed were Northern Uganda Minister, Grace K. Freedom, deputy CAO Zombo – Assimwe David, Ocoun Patrick and Moses O. Lebega – who represented colleague farmers, among other leaders.
According to the clan chief, many people (tea experts) were recommended to them but Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative Limited director has been impressive.
TND News has learnt that no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the foundation and Alur Kingdom has been signed, with Prime Minister telling our reporter on phone Sunday that “there are many factors you look at.”
On Zombo Tea now packed in 100g, the Head of Business says progression is just at 5%, “and not yet changing the lives of people.”
Read: ZOMBO TEA: ‘The finest from West Nile’
Summary of tea farmers in greater north
Zombo – 350
Acholi – 120
Lango – 145. Registration of tea farmers in both Lango and Acholi sub-regions ongoing, according to Mr. Atukunda.
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