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District leaders and investors from UAE inspect some of the tea samples grown in Zombo District on Wednesday.

New factory to boost tea farming in Zombo

The tea factory will be constructed by Elite Agro LLC (EAG), a UAE company.
According to some of the farmers says that the factory will improve their livelihoods as well as generate revenue for the district.
Investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have committed to constructing a tea processing factory in Zombo District.

News. The Northern Link UG: The tea factory will be constructed by Elite Agro LLC (EAG), a UAE company.
According to some of the farmers says that the factory will improve their livelihoods as well as generate revenue for the district.
More than 300 acres of land has already been allocated for the construction of the factory by the Alur Kingdom, through the Zombo District local government

Mr. Gilbert Ayot, a farmer in Zeu Sub-county, said the factory will offer job opportunities to the locals.

“We have been frustrated by the fluctuating prices of tea and middlemen who cheat us. But this factory will offer direct market opportunities for us,” Mr. Ayot said.

Another farmer, Mr. Wilfred Jakwonga, said:

“Much as intervention is being taken, tea growing in Zombo declined because farmers were not trained or given proper guidelines.”
“Farmers and the cooperative society should unite to harmonise the differences between farmers and politicians for value addition. Farmers should be protected from price discrimination to encourage others to join,” he added.

Middlemen have been buying tea leaves between Shs200 and Shs300, which farmers say is too low. 
The Executive Director of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads), Dr. Samuel Mugashi, said tea growing in Zombo District was a government initiative to eradicate poverty.

“Tea growing was initiated by the government for the people of Zombo and government has come in to ensure that the tea factory is constructed for value addition. So, there is a need to mobilize farmers to grow more tea to sustain the factory,” Dr. Mugashi said.

He added that Uganda sells 80,000 million kilograms of tea every year at a rate of $1 per kilo and the country gets $20 million yearly. 
He said the exportation of tea is hampered by low production but expressed optimism that if farmers are sensitized to grow more tea, the production would increase.

The executive director of EAG, Dr. Abdul Monem Almarzoogi, said tea farmers will be given fertilizers to boost the growth of tea for better quality.
He added that the company will use modern machines to improve the quality of Ugandan tea to enable it to fetch higher prices on the global market. 
He said the timeline for the construction of the factory would be set after the memorandum of understanding was signed.

The State Minister for Northern Uganda, Ms. Grace Kwiyucwiny, said tea farmers were demoralized since they were transporting tea leaves to Hoima, which is about 200kms away from Zombo, at a high cost.

Ms. Kwiyucwiny said with the coming of investors, tea farmers will reap the benefits of tea since it is the second most lucrative cash crop in the district after coffee.

“Tea growing is picking up again in the district and this factory will increase production and this is an opportunity that we should not let go,” she said.

Via: Daily Monitor

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