Gulu – 9 November 2020: Northern Uganda will soon be a leader in tea growing.
Both cultural, religious and political leaders – including institutions of higher learning have welcomed tea growing with a commitment.
Local governments in West Nile and Acholi sub regions too, now believes tea, like coffee, simsim, millet or sorghum can be a big source of local revenue and a boost to household income.
On Monday, 9 November 2020, Gulu university became the second higher institution of learning after Muni University in Arua City to show a commitment in promoting tea growing.
Mr Elly Ndyomugyenyi – Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Mr Asaf Adebua and other senior university staff hosted Mr Edwin Atukunda Beekunda, the director, Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative (EFOTI).
EFOTI has camped in northern Uganda for almost three years now reviving tea growing, undertaking nursery bed establishment, capacity building, research, value addition, among other activities.
EFOTI has revived tea growing in Zombo district, and moved further to process and pack Zombo Royal Tea for Alur Kingdom.
“We shared about possibility of Edwin Foundation partnering with Gulu university in tea growing. We shall begin with nursery bed, mother garden and finally estate establishment,” Mr Atukunda told TND News on Monday evening.
“In future, we shall have value addition to enhance profitably. All these will be embedded in MOU which is being processed,” he added.
Speaking to TND News on Monday evening, Mr Asaf Adebua, the Gulu university director planning, also the acting university secretary says “although it’s premature to discuss it, we got a proposal from Edwin and we are discussing it with the university Vice Chancellor”.
Mr Asaf says the university’s motto, “Community Transformation” means “to transform the wider community right from where the university is located and rightward”.
He added that the university has land in Nwoya district where it’s only planting eucleaptus trees, stating that “tea can be very beneficial”.
According to director planning, Faculty of Agriculture and university secretary has advised EFOTI to prepare as the university works on the “MoU – which will define the responsibilities and obligations, benefits of both parties,” he added, in the same interview.
For long time, he says “many people thought tea couldn’t be grown in northern Uganda”.
But Asaf and university leadership are now convinced tea can survive after research indicating “nothern soil” favours tea.
“For the collaboration or partnership between us, they (EFOTI) have informed us the soil is good, tea can grow and they have started in West Nile (Zombo) and in Lugore,” university official said with optimism.