Tea farmers in Kigezi sub-region have resolved to petition Agriculture minister Tress Buchanayandi over rising cases of theft and sale of immature seedlings.
The resolution was made during a meeting between tea nursery bed farmers from Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro and Rukungiri districts, the district leaders and security officials in Kabale Town on Monday.
The farmers said several businessmen contracted by the National Agricultural Aisory Services (Naads) programme to supply tea seedlings to other districts have triggered theft of the crop.
They said the businessmen also buy immature tea seedlings and supply them to Mitooma, Isingiro and Mbarara districts, among other areas, where tea growing has just been introduced.
“Stealing tea seedlings from nursery beds at night has come up after the ministry of Agriculture licensed people with no tea nursery beds to supply seedlings,” said Mr Frank Byaruhanga, a farmer.
“If the trend of purchasing tea seedlings and taking them out of Kigezi is not checked, tea growing in this area will be frustrated,” he added.
They also resolved that no tea seedlings should be moved out of Kigezi without clearance from district agriculture officers and Kinkiizi Development Agency (KDA), the lead company promoting tea growing in the sub-region.
Kabale RDC Darius Nandinda threatened to arrest some district councillors who are decampaigning tea growing in Kigezi on radio talk shows.
He appealed to KDA to work with district leaders for the success of the project.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor