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Kigezi farmers demand sh29b from government

By Wilson Manishimwe

Added 21st September 2016 10:01 AM

“There is no project that has succeeded like tea in Kisoro,” said Tumusiime.

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Chairperson Board of Directors Kinkiiza Development Company Limited, James Musinguzi Garuga (L) and Secretary for works, water and Technical services in Kanungu district Christopher Kamara addressing journalists during press conference at Grand Imperial Hotel on September 20, 2016. Photo by Mary Kansiime

“There is no project that has succeeded like tea in Kisoro,” said Tumusiime.

Tea farmers in Kigezi sub-region, who supplied over 16 million seedlings, are demanding about sh29b from the Government. According to Frank Byaruhanga, the chairman south-western Uganda Tea Nursery Operators, Kisoro, Kanungu, Rukungiri farmers demand about sh9b, sh9b, sh8b and sh3b respectively.

They supplied the seedlings between March and September 2015 as well as March 2016.

Byaruhanga said the tea project has transformed people’s livelihoods in the respective areas.

He however, said the project is being frustrated by some leaders in the area.

Kigezi sub-region for years did not have any significant cash crop until 2008 when tea was introduced.

For Kisoro and Kabale districts, tea project was introduced in 2012 by the Government, through its agriculture ministry and was estimated at sh20b by that time. Since that time, farmers started established tea nursery beds and the Government committed to buy those seedlings. Each seedling is sh250.

While speaking to press at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, James Musinguzi Garuga, the Kinkizi Development Company (KDC) director, said in Kabale tea acreage increased from 81 acres to over 5,000 as per December 2015. Kisoro had an increase from 1.5 acres to over 5,000 acres of tea.

“We have so far built two factories in Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro are on course. In Kanungu, people engaged in planting of tea seedlings have increased from 5,170 to 41,000 per day,” said Garuga.

John Baguma who represented the Kabale LC5 chairman said that Kabale district doesn’t have any other source of income to people apart from tea project. He however said that farmers in the district have not been paid since January this year.

Izidol Tumusiime, the Kisoro district health secretary noted that tea project in the district has a lot of on ground success.

“There is no project that has succeeded like tea in Kisoro,” said Tumusiime.  

Tea project in Kigezi has in the last three years provided direct employment to over 1000 tea nursery operators with over 100,000 employees.

 

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