“Tea production is Uganda is currently 20% less of its full potential but as a research organization we want to fill this gap."
KABAROLE -The government of Uganda, through the line ministry of agriculture and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), has finalized plans of hiring a team of agricultural scientists to undertake tea research.
Robert Kajobe, the executive director Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Kabarole district, has disclosed that five of the scientists have already been posted in Kabarole district.
"Tea production is Uganda is currently 20% short of its full potential but as a research organization we want to fill this gap to enable our farmers meet the middle income class by 2020" Kajobe said while meeting district production officers and suppliers of planting materials in Fort Portal Kabarole district.
He said that government will this financial year establish a tea laboratory at Rwebitaba to ease multiplication of tea clones.
"We want our tea farmers to have high-yielding, disease-resistant tea varieties. This will enable them benefit faster from tea farming."
According to Kajobe, the institute will this time round work closely with the district production officers to scale down their research findings to farmers in various districts.
"We want work that is being done at the institute to be reflected in the communities that surround us."
Christopher Bukenya who represented the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) executive director, said there has been a lot of concern on the quality of planting materials supplied to farmers.
"There is a national concern that the seeds and seedlings nursery operators are supplying to our farmers are of poor quality. Some fail to even germinate while others yield poorly. This has caused huge losses to not only the farmers but to government as well" said the NAADS official.
Richard Rwabuhinga, the Kabarole district chairperson, appealed to government to also avail fertilizers to farmers who are receiving the tea seedlings.
"Instead of supplying so many tea seedlings let government use part of the money to procure fertilizers for the farmers because it's hard for tea to do well without fertilizers."