By Steven Ainganiza
Kisoro District Leaders have resolved to invest in mass tea production to generate more revenue for the district.
The resolution follows a visit by councilors and technocrats to tea plantations and subsequent meetings with the Kabarole district leaders on Thursday.
Their tour was aimed at establishing how Kabarole is benefiting from tea production and the strategies applied to improve on the local revenue mobilization.
Abel Bizimana, Kisoro District Chairperson revealed that as leaders, their focus is on investing in the tea production and embark on serious mobilization of the masses to embrace the enterprise so as to have increased household income and revenue to the district.
“We are going to start a campaign to lease out the district idle land to the tea investors in order to increase tea production. This would enable us increase job opportunities and revenue,” he said.
Mr. Bizimana also said that President Yoweri Museveni gave an open cheque to the districts of Kisoro, Kabale and Kanungu to grow tea but as district leaders, they didn’t know how to benefit from this project.
“Kigezi Highland Tea Factory investor has been producing tea but we had not known how to benefit until today when Kabarole leaders told us they earn Shs5m from tea companies as local service tax,” he said.
He observed that from interacting with the Kabarole leadership, they have learnt to partner with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), mobilization of the masses through meetings, annual leaders’ conferences and regular meetings of politicians and technical staff to forge a way forward.
Michael Kisembo, Kabarole Assistant Chief Administrative Officer told the delegates that partnership with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and political lobbying has been key in the improvement of education, health, production sectors, accountability and service delivery.
Robert Nkojo, Kabarole Chief Finance Officer said that the seven tea factories that include Kiko Tea Estate, Kyamara, Tooro Kahuna, Kijura tea estate, Rwenzori Commodities among others have promoted out-growers and offered employment to over 300 people per factory.
In less than a year, 10 districts including Kisoro, Arua, Koboko, Yumbe, Sironko, Tororo, Pader, Kitgum, Mitooma and Luwero have visited Kabarole to share experiences and best practices that have made the district perform well in areas of education, Health, production, transparency and accountability.