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Take on High Value Crops; Museveni Tells Tea Farmers :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Take on High Value Crops; Museveni Tells Tea Farmers

The president’s message, followed a presentation by Col. Tom Butiime, the minister of Tourism and MP Mwenge Central in Kyenjojo district who informed the president that government need to urgently intervene in the plight of tea farmers with many abandoning their farms over drop in prices.

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President Yoweri Museveni has asked farmers to diversify from the traditional tea growing  to other high commercial value crops.

In his address during the National Labour’s day celebrations held in Mukabura playground in Fort Portal Tourism City, Museveni said tea doesn’t have high global market compared to other products like coffee, fish and bananas.

The president said that with changing global demands, he has been an advocate of a diversified economy though his message has not been given attention by the appropriate persons.

Museveni highlighted seven key enterprises: coffee, fruits (mangoes, oranges, pineapples, apples, grapes), zero-grazing dairy farming, fish farming, poultry for egg production, piggery, and homestead food crops such as cassava and bananas.

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The president’s message followed a presentation by Col. Tom Butiime, the Minister for Tourism,  also a member of parliament for Mwenge Central in Kyenjojo district.

Butiime informed the president that the government needs to urgently intervene in the plight of tea farmers with many abandoning their farms over a drop in prices. Some tea farmers in Tooro and Ankole have reportedly been uprooting their tea plantations due to low prices.

The president, however, said the cabinet will meet to address some of the issues including lack of fertilizers and other challenges faced by tea farmers that can be addressed by the government.

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In February, Kabarole district tea farmers petitioned parliament over the low prices of the cash crop, saying that some players are already dropping out of business.

In their petition, which was presented to the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among, the farmers said the prices of green tea leaf had dropped from 500 shillings to 200 shillings per kilogramme.

Some tea farmers across the country especially in Rwenzori region  in Bushenyi district have also decided to cut down their tea plantations saying that the crop is nolonger profitable to them.

The president also promised to meet select leaders from the Rwenzori Sub Region this June to discuss regional matters.

Earlier, Butime had reminded the president of his unfulfilled pledges including road upgrades, construction of Buhinga stadium, and the industrial area.

International Labour Day, popularly known as International Worker’s Day or May Day is observed every 1st May in commemoration of the historic struggles and gains made by workers.

This year's National Labour Day theme was; Improving access to labor justice: A prerequisite for increased productivity.  

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