More than 2,000 tea farmers in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts are stuck with their produce due to due to a drop in demand for the produce. The farmers have been selling their produce to two major tea factories in the Tooro region, Mpanga in Kabarole and Mabale in Kyenjojo. However, last year the two factories announced they had reduced on the quantity of green leaf supplied to them by farmers due to indebtedness to a tune of 19.4 billion shillings.
Individual farmers and associations secured loans from different institutions to purchase modern farming equipment, fertilisers, better quality seeds and other agricultural implements to improve food production. Many of the farmers have, however, defaulted on the loan payments.
The celebrations which were held in Fort Portal were organised by Hivos, Kabarole Research and Resource Centre and Kabarole district local government under the theme, Reviving the production and consumption of traditional and indigenous food varieties for better health, food security and rural development.
Amos Ajuna, the operations manager Kijura tea factory says that the bad state of the road affects the delivery of their finished products to markets in Kampala, Fort-Portal, Kasese and Mbarara because several trucks break down
The dispute stems from a 2014 presidential directive to Uganda Land Commission to allocate 200 acres of land located at Kyembogo in Busoro Sub County to Mountains of the Moon University to set up a Dairy research centre.
At the celebrations to mark the cooperatives week on Thursday at Karugutu Sub County headquarters in Ntoroko district, the members argued that local leaders have looked on as illegal Saccos open up and and steal peoples savings.
A 50 kilogram bag of fertilizers now costs 140,000 up from 110,000 Shillings, a hike that has affected Nitrogen Phosphate Potassium -NPK and Diammonium Phosphate-DAP fertilizers over the last two months. A trip of organic fertilizers has also increased from 40,000 to 65,000 Shillings.
The fund is administered by Bank of Uganda through selected commercial banks. Under the service, government finances 50 percent of the total credit sought while the banks provide the other 50 percent. The loans have a three year grace period and a 10 percent annual interest rate.
Salvatore Abigaba, the Kabarole District Production Coordinator attributes the closure of the clinics to inadequate plant doctors. He explains that some of the doctors were transferred to different areas while others got employed elsewhere.
The Moringa tree, sometimes described as the miracle tree, is often used for traditional medicine pounded out of its leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrients. It is used in many developing countries to combat malnutrition especially among infants and nursing mothers.
Patrick Siisa, the Chairman Board Mabale Tea Factory in Kyenjojo district, says that despite being one of the major players in the tea industry, most of the tea produced by the factory fetches low prices on the global market because of quality issues.
Located along the Fort Portal- Kasese road at Rubona, the 750 acre farm is currently under the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank NAGRC and DB, in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. It acts as a breeding and training centre.
Mpanga Tea Factory in Kabarole district and Mabale in Kyenjojo district are indebted to a tune of 19.4 billion Shillings. The two factories are among the largest in the region and owned by small holder farmers.
Kennedy Gusaalire, the Kingdom Spokesperson, says amending the anthem will distort the history and Tooro culture. Gusaalire explains that before the anthem was composed, they sought opinions of kingdom elders and other subjects who approved the content.
Bishop Kisembo says that it is unfortunate that the report has been shelved by kingdom officials. He explains that the report raised important issues that need to be addressed to resolve the conflicts in the Kingdom.