“We need about 2 acres of land to plant the available tea seedlings which EFOTI has offered to us,” AWRCA’s founder and treasure, Rose Daisy Lanyero told TND News Friday on phone.
Gulu – 7, May 2021: Tea growing will soon hit the zenith and the expectations of Northern Uganda people – with Zombo and Gulu districts taking the lead.
‘Every month’ there is good news; promising development. The coming together of [potential] farmers to embrace the venture is another success.
Recently, a group of women and men came together and formed an association. They are moving forward to legalize it, some association’s promoters say.
Acholi Women Revolution for Commercialized Agriculture (AWRCA) is a new hope with 25 members. 20 are female and 5 men, Rose Daisy Lanyero told TND News on Friday.
Lanyero who’s the founder and treasurer says they got together after the Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative (EFOTI) director approached her over a tea project he has been undertaking in the region (Acholi and West Nile sub-regions).
“He (Edwin Atukunda Beekunda) told me what government wants, shared with me documents from NAADS and the future of tea in the region,” she recounted her conversation with EFOTI’s director, Mr Atukunda.
After the conversation, she decided to found AWRCA whose chairperson, she says is Lanyero Collins, a graduate of Agriculture.
According to her, they need about 2 acres of land to plant the available tea seedlings which EFOTI has offered. After approaching the district, AWRCA will be offered a piece on land in Laroo, Gulu City East Division.
“I have seen that agriculture is really a backbone of Africa. An acre of tea can give you about shs2m per year. This can help you pay school fees for your children, change your way of living, among others,” AWRCA’s treasurer added.
With supports from NAADS and government, she believes “we won’t be there anymore”, adding: “Agriculture is the best thing to do.”
On the mindset change, Lanyero stated that “it’s a little hard and when it comes to [financial] contribution, men are hard to convince”.
“I tell them don’t look at the shs200,000 you are spending now but the shs40m+ you will be getting in the future.”
EFOTI’s tea mission
EFOTI team has embarked on a mission to promote tea, and training different stakeholders in Acholi sub-region, and beyond.
Last week, it trained students of Gulu University’s faculty of Agriculture on tea management, nursery bed establishment, among other topics.
It also went to Gulu 4th division army barrack where some soldiers were trained on the same, and tea seedlings were planted – both by EFOTI director, and the men in uniform.
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“Tea is one of the perennial crops coming on board here. If farmers can take, it can create huge employment. People used to think it cannot grow in this region,” Otwal Pius who’s pursuing Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Gulu University, told this publication on Friday afternoon.
On how the tea training they underwent will impact on the course he’s studying, he said: “It will improve our knowledge on perennial crops, think outside the box and create employment for myself and for the youth out there.”
“There has been a problem of tea market in Zombo. The issue is how can we expand and market? As a student, I can be able to identify local markets,” he added.
“Economic-wise, we can get different products, make fertilizers from tea byproducts. As agriculture students, we should explore such to help farmers improve soil fertility,” he analyses.
EFOTI director says he won’t tire in his efforts to promote tea in the region, and in his efforts to further build the capacity of farmers, stakeholders and connect them with government so that tea factory is set-up soon.