Alur King, Olarker Philip Rauni III visits historical tea estate in Zombo


His Royal Highness Olarker Philip Rauni III [m] EFOTI Limited's Edwin Beekunda Atukunda at the historical tea estate in 2020. File photo.

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Zombo—30, May 2020: The Royal Highness of Alur Kingdom Olarker Philip Rauni III has commended all tea farmers in West Nile sub-region, especially Zombo district during his Friday engagement with the farmers.

The King and his delegation were hosted by Mr Edwin Atukunda Beekunda, the director of The Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative [EFOTI Limited], a consultancy firm with speciality in tea management.

His Royal Highness visited a historical tea plantation established in 1968. This tea plantation in Abanga, was left to ruin and was never attended to for more than four decades.

In late 2019 to this year, EFOTI Limited under the management and supervision of Mr Atukunda, a man with over 30 years of tea experience, made it a significant agenda to rehabilitate the already dead estate.

The King allowed EFOTI Limited to do gap filling with specific clones. “We are to do the followings as advised by the King: further rehabilitations, gaps filling with good clones, general management, among others,” Mr Atukunda tells TND News on Saturday.

He also added that they will turn the historical garden into “a tea training centre” that will serve the entire northern Uganda.

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Alur Kingdom and EFOTI Limited are working together to see that West Nile sub-region [Alur people] tops the map of Uganda as far as tea project is concerned.

With the partial production of Zombo Royal Tea on, Mr Atukunda says market shall be opened for buying green leaves from farmers.

On Friday, he demonstrated how a tea bush is brought into bearing, a practice he urged farmers to respect in order to increase quality and quantity.

Kingdom Premier Hon Ochaya Vincent [R], King Rauni III [1st from L] Edwin Atukunda and others on Friday.

Mr Kakura Emmy Kizito, the former LC5 chair Zombo district said during Friday’s field visit that the resumption of tea in the district started way back in 2012 and it relapsed. According to him, there were no tea experts to train farmers.

The former district leader added that “people only supplied tea seedlings and farmers were not offered any technical knowledge and guidance.” He soon applauded EFOTI Limited’s intervention in resurrecting tea farming in the district and West Nile sub-region in general.

Meanwhile, the Alur Kingdom Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Vincent Ochaya said he will ensure that the mother garden [historical tea estate] is protected.

Mr Ochaya—who’s also the Kingdom’s leader of business, told over 100 people who took part in the Friday field tour that “it’s now time to take actions not talking”.

He advised all tea farmers under their different umbrellas to work closely with EFOTI Limited.

“If there is anything like enmity among you, it should be left out and everyone should speak the same language when it comes to tea,” the Kingdom’s Premier further advised.

In his address, His Highness Olarker Philip Rauni III told the people of Alur to embrace the culture of tea, urging the farmers to take it seriously.

The King says it amazed him to see tea still exists where it was planted over fifty years ago, adding that the country has one of the best tea clones in Zombo district, now under the management of EFOTI Limited.

He also called for the maintenance of the existing mother garden.  

A robust production of Zombo Royal Tea is expected to start in a very near future, with export to DRC, South Sudan and Kenya.

meja@tndnewsug.com or newsroom@tndnewsug.com


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