UGANDA TEA GROWERS URGED TO PICK GREEN TEA LEAVES TO CURB DECLINE IN PRICES

By Patson Barair

KAMPALA, Sept 22 — Tea farmers across Uganda have been advised to pick only the recommended green tea leaves so as to curb the decline of international tea prices.

The call was made by Caleb Kipande, the former chairman of the board of directors of Kayonza Growers Tea Factory when addressing the 19th annual general meeting of the company in Kanungu district last week.

He said many farmers harvested poor quality green tea leaves, which had compromised the international market value at the auction market in Mombasa, Kenya.

“Our main auction market in Mombasa has witnessed a fall in prices due to the quality supplied. This has affected our incomes,” Kipande said.

As a result, farmers are earning only 380 shillings per kilogramme for their leaf against 410 shillings previously.

He, however, said that although the operating environment had remained subdued in the last six months, Kayonza Growers Tea Factory which started in the 1950s had managed to deliver a fair result.

Like other farmers, Kipande said the government’s decision to tax agricultural inputs and machinery was adversely affecting the company’s operations.

He also said that leaders from various tea factories had appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry to appeal for the introduction of Tea Regulatory Authority so that the industry was regulated.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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