Monday 1st October 2012

Board and some EATTA members based in Mombasa,
visited Uganda
from 24th to 26th November 2011.

included eleven (11) Board members, two (2) EATTA Management and nine (9) Tea
Brokers and Buyers

the Board’s stay in the country, it held its Annual General Meeting at the Golf
Course Hotel; met the Hon, Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and
Fisheries, Hon. Tress Buchanayandi; and also members of the Uganda Tea

The above
was a rare opportunity for Uganda
since all EATTA Board meetings take place in Kenya.  The Uganda Producers raised to the Board a
number of concerns that included:

  • The case of bond

    requirements for non-Kenya teas

  • The issue of inadequate
    representation of
    to the EATTA Board and
  • The long standing KEPHIS
    charge at Malaba Border which to us is an NTB.

Mabale Growers injects shs3b into expansion

Tuesday 13th September 2011

Mabale Growers Tea Factory has invested $1.2M (about sh3.3bn) to expand, increase production and reduce operational costs.

Kenneth Kyamulesire, the General Manager, said the project would increase the factory’s production capacity from 70,000 kilograms of green leaf per day to 120,000 kilogrammes.

 “The move will also improve the tea quality and price in the world market and bring down the overall cost of production”, Kyamulesire said.

He was on Friday speaking to tea farmers and stakeholders at the factory headquarters at Bugaki sub-county in Kyenjojo District.

The factory was established in 1969 by the Uganda Tea Growers Corporation. However in 1994 it was transferred to small tea farmers of Kyenjojo and Kabarole districts.

Eulogia Rusoke, the board of governors’ chief, said the company had since 1994 grown from 220 members to 2,380 by 2010. He added that crop production grew from 3,800,000 kilogrammes of green leaf to 21,000,000 kilogrammes at the end of last year.

Rusoke however, noted that the tea industry in the country faced problems, especially poor quality, due to lack of a regulatory body and research to improve modes of production.

“Research in the sector stopped in 1974 and whatever is being done in Uganda is guess work - this has greatly affected tea quality. Productivity, profitability and therefore we can not predict the future of the industry”, Rusoke explained.

He also said the factory was facing other challenges especially the high cost of fertilizers. Today, fertilizers cost sh100,000 per bag compared to sh36,000 in 2006, he noted.

Okasai Opolot, the Director for crop production at the Agriculture ministry, said the ministry had established a research center at Kyembogo in Kabarole district to find modern ways of tea production.
Opolot revealed that the tea industry was one of the sectors in the cash crops segment being targeted for funding.
“Tea is an enterprise we need to finance because it is the second biggest cash crop foreign exchange earner after coffee”, he said.
Opolot urged farmers to unite and form a forum to push parliament to enact laws to govern the industry.

Farmers root for Agric bank

Sunday 28th August 2011

FARMERS have urged the Government to set up an agricultural bank, where they could access loans at low interest rates.
Henry Mutebi Kityo, the Ugandan National Farmers Federation secretary general, said such a bank was necesary to improve agricultural financing in the country. The move would also support the Government’s effort towards poverty reduction among the masses, he added.

The Government is promoting the revival of farmers’ co-operatives, which ceased operating decades ago, as part of this effort. Kityo was addressing reporters in Kampala recently. He explained that over 85% of Ugandan farmers have no land titles, which are a pre-requisite before for one to acquire a loan. “Farmers want an agricultural bank to take care of their interests,” he said.
He added that farmers, who grow perennial cash crops, were not getting loans from commercial banks “because they (banks) want to recover the money in the short-term.” “There is no bank that takes care of our interests. All the existing banks are profit-oriented and have no time for farmers,” Kityo noted.

Like the former Co-operative Bank, he said the farmers’ bank would also sell agricultural inputs, implements and fertilisers to farmers at subsidised prices. Kityo also explained that the money to capitalise the bank would be provided by the Government and farmers’ co-operatives. He, however, pointed out that some banks extend loans to large-scale commercial farmers, but ignore the small farmers. “Many banks despise small farmers, yet they are the majority. Commercial farmers are about 5%.”Capt. Esau Gasasira, the federation vice-president, noted that the lack of agricultural funding was one of the reasons the youth were abandoning rural areas for urban centres. “That is why we have been lobbying the Government to increase funding for the sector,” Gasasira said.

 By Pascal Kwesiga and John Kasozi - From the Newvision of 26th August 2011