Hundreds of tea farmers from Kigezi sub-region, western Uganda have called for the creation of the Uganda Tea Authority if the country is to produce quality tea to compete in the world markets.
The tea farmers say Uganda produces larger quantities of tea than any East African country but the quality is poor compared to the rest.
The farmers attributed this to lack of the necessary research on tea in the country as well as an absence of a law guarding the production of tea.
Japheth Tugume, the national coordinator on tea policy formulation, said the tea growing sector in the country faces multiple challenges that have affected it in the global market.
“Tea production faces challenges ranging from research and development, extension services, production and productivity, harvest and post-harvest issues, tea processing and packaging, tea marketing and branding and many others. These have brought Uganda tea down, but the authority would solve this,” Tugume told the media on Tuesday.
John Nizeyimana Kamara, the Bufumbira North County MP, who owns 2,000 acres of tea in Kisoro District called on Ugandans who intend to invest in tea production to be passionate about tea. He said reaping the fruits of tea needs passion and enthusiasm.
Hon Kamara said that the multi-million dollar Ugandan tea industry currently employs over 100,000 small farmers and supports the livelihoods of up to a million people
“It is unfortunate that Uganda is known for producing the lowest quality tea in the east Africa yet it has better conditions for its growth than an of other countries,” he said.