James Oruna Oyullu, the Zombo District chairperson told Uganda Radio Network that, they unanimously agreed to give that district land for the investor due to the challenges tea farmers in the district have been facing due to the absence of tea processing plant.
A section of the Abanga Tea Estate in Zombo District
Zombo district council has
offered 10 acres of land to an investor for the establishment of a tea
processing in the area which has been lacking.
Over the past eight years Tea
Farmers in Zombo district have been grappling with lack of a tea processing
plant in the area, which forced many farmers to abandon tea growing.
The land which is located near Zeu
farm institute in Aka sub county, Zombo district, has been given to Elite Agro
Group of the United Arab Emirates.
James Oruna Oyullu, the Zombo
District chairperson told Uganda Radio Network that they unanimously agreed to
give that district land for the investor due to the challenges tea farmers in
the district have been facing due to the absence of a tea processing plant.
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Samuel Oringtho, a member of the
Zombo Tea Growers’ Cooperative Society Limited, has welcomed the initiative noting
that the absence of a factory discouraged many farmers from actively
participating in tea agriculture. He says that he is optimistic that once
established, the factory will woo back farmers who had abandoned tea growing
due to the absence of a processing factory in the area.
“Many of my colleagues abandoned
tea growing due to lack of a factory in the area. Some even abandoned weeding
their tea plantations," he said.
Meanwhile, Jacinto Acoputho, one
of the tea farmers in Aka Sub county has appealed to the investor to expediate
the process of setting up the tea processing plant, noting that their tea
leaves are nearly mature.
“We have suffered due to the lack
of factory here. Let them immediately start the work to save us from incurring
more loses,," noted Acoputho.
However, Lawrence Biyika, the Ora
County Member of Parliament says although the intervention by the investor is
welcomed, their priority remains for government to establish a tea processing
factory in the area.
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Lt Col. Pius Alitema, the RDC of
Zombo district says the tea processing factory once established will not offer
employment opportunities for the locals but also boost the economy of the
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Tea growing in Zombo district was
initially introduced during the Milton Obote I government in the 1960s. However,
the project collapsed due to the political turmoil of the 1970s.
During the 2013/ 2014 financial
year, Government reintroduced tea growing in the district through the Northern
Uganda Social Action Fund-NUSAF.