Minister warns on sale of tea seedlings

Agriculture minister Tress Buchanayandi has warned of revoking licences of people trading in tea seedlings without nursery beds saying they are undermining the quality of the government project.

“I will investigate this matter thoroughly and ensure that licences given to such traders are revoked,” Mr Buchanayandi said.

The minister was addressing leaders of Kigezi Tea Nursery Bed operators in Kabale Town last Friday. He also promised to resolve the issue of late payments to suppliers of tea seedlings saying this demoralises them.

Government has injected Shs30 billion in the tea growing project in Kigezi sub-region since 2013.
The minister saluted Kigezi Highland Tea for its approach of counting tea seedlings supplied to farmers in gardens “because the issue of dumping and leaving the supplied tea seedlings ‘to whom it may concern’ does not arise”.

Kigezi Highland Tea was in 2013 licensed by government as a sole lead agency for tea growing in Kigezi sub-region.

Poor quality
More suppliers have since been licenced by government.

However, some farmers have complained about some of the new firms saying they have compromised quality including sale and planting of immature tea seedlings.

Mr Buchanayandi said government will give two hoes per household to improve agricultural practices. He said Naads staff at every sub-county will help with extension services.

“About Shs10 billion has been budgeted or the recruitment of Naads staffs at every sub-county in Uganda to offer technical support to farmers.

“I hope this trend shall boost agriculture productivity,” Mr Buchanayandi said after visiting a site at Kitumba in Kabale where a Shs3.5 billion tea processing factory is being constructed by Kigezi Highland Tea.

The director for Kigezi Highland Tea, Mr Garuga Musinguzi, said about 70,000 people are currently employed in the tea project.

He said another Shs3.5 billion tea processing factory is being constructed in Kisoro District.


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