NUSAF, UWA partner with EFOTI to pilot tea farming in Nwoya   

Tea cuttings in a nursery bed. Mr Atukunda Beekunda with farmers.

“Acholi has good weather, and the land is arable. They should involve in commercial agriculture,” says Kagoro.

Nwoya—28, June 2021: “We are in partnership with the Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative (EFOTI) to promote tea growing in the country especially those surrounding national game parks,” Akena Geoffrey, the NUSAF Desk Officer for Nwoya district told TND News in an interview Sunday evening.

The NUSAF officer says whenever communities of Nwoya would grow their crops, elephants would eat it.

Tea, unlike maize, beans and cassava, elephants can not eat it—experts say.

According to Akena, the role of NUSAF is to draw the community to money economy and by investing in tea growing; “we are reaching the goal of NUSAF.”

“With EFOTI, we are looking at the technology; remember, this is a new cash crop in the district [Nwoya]. The success of intervention under NUSAF is a good foundation to support tea growing,” he added.

Asked how many farmers have been supported, he said: “30 people and 75,000 tea seedlings distributed.”

Asked why 30 people only, he replied, “It’s yet a pilot, hope to increase on the number in the subsequent year.”

Similarly, Kagoro Wilson who is the Community Conservation Warden for the Murchison Fall National Game Park in Nwoya district told this publication that “in my view agriculture is the way to go especially for those with land.”

“Acholi has good weather, and the land is arable. They should involve in commercial agriculture,” says Kagoro.

“In Kabale where I was working, we had tea, and it had no challenge with elephants,” he remembered.

Asked about the future of tourism amidst Covid-19 and lockdown, he says: “It will go back to where it was. It may take like 2—3 years.”

He noted that after lifting of the lockdown months ago, tourism was already picking up from where it had stopped last year.

Edwin Atukunda Beekunda says EFOTI has given the first batch of tea cuttings to Acholi women under their group. About three months ago, Acholi women formed an association to promote tea.

Tea cuttings given to Acholi women under AWRCA.

“They received cuttings from us to popularise tea growing, the nursery bed will act as a training centre for the entire region,” he added.

Moving forward

Latoro Wagene Tea Growers in Nwoya district is the latest farmer group in Acholi subregion to sign a tea working document with EFOTI.

They signed the agreement (MoU) on 24 June 2021 to promote “tea research, production, productivity, value addition and tea product diversification in the region.”

Edwin Atukunda lifts an MOU document after signing as official and Latoro Wagene tea farmers look on.

During the training of farmers in Gulu City after they received tea cuttings, Oyet Simon, the Vice LC5 Chairperson, Gulu district was present – among other stakeholders.

Farmers preparing one of the nursery beds.

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