Zombo – Tea growers in northern Uganda are excited after government has earmarked Uganda shillings 2.5 Billion for the establishment of a modern tea factory.
The factory set-up is expected to commence in the financial year of 2020/2021.
This was revealed by Zombo Tea Outgrowers Cooperative Society Chairman, Okello Jimmy on Saturday when sub-county and district councilors visited tea plantations in Zeu and Aka sub-counties, Zombo district.
According to him, about 300 acres of tea is now active, rubbishing some propaganda from “non tea farmers” who claim there is “no tea in the district”.
He added: “You can’t go around telling propaganda that there’s no single tea garden in Zombo and these are those who have not planted a single tea plant.”
Mr. Okello termed the future of tea “promising” and “nothing will stop them” since Zeu and Aka sub-counties are for references.
The Cooperative chairperson says they now have enough tea to supply the factory once it’s on next year.
After tea’s first introduction in the district between 2013-2014, it failed to catch up following low morale and lack of tea farming knowledge by farmers and other stakeholders.
When The Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative Limited (EFOTI) approached northern Uganda, tea farming communities in the district and beyond came together and took it seriously.
Speaking to tea farmers, sub-county and district councilors on Saturday, Edwin Atukunda Beekunda, the EFOTI director who is also a tea expert for more than two decades, says: “The foundation is in Zombo to build the capacity of tea farmers to avoid mistakes made in the past.”
“We can’t do the same thing when tea was first introduced here and we expect success,” Mr. Edwin added.
For his selfless efforts, and championing tea multiplication, building capacity of tea farmers, among others in the region, Mr. Atukunda has been recognized by TND News as one of the top five people ‘fixing’ northern Uganda.
Workers’ Councilor for Zombo district, Ms. Beatrice Obima applauded Mr. Atukunda and entire EFOTI management for saving tea in Zombo through capacity building.