By Steven Ainganiza
KYENJOJO. Government has offered close to Shs3bn as an intervention to the limping Mpanga and Mabale Tea Growers factories in Western Uganda to help them boost tea production.
Mabale Tea Growers Factory, located in Bugaki Subcounty, Kyenjojo district will get Shs1.5bn whereas Mpanga tea factory in Kabarole district will get Shs1.3bn as capital to boost their business.
Gen Salim Saleh, the Chief Coordinator of the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) disclosed the development during the Mabale factory annual general meeting on Wednesday.
Gen Saleh said the money is meant to help factories buy the green leaf produced by farmers.
“Farmers have over-planted tea because of the impact of OWC. If this factory is not able to absorb what our farmers are producing then there should not have been any reason for planning in the first case,” Gen Saleh said.
Gen Saleh was responding to the remarks by Patrick Siisa, the Mabale Growers Tea Factory board Chairperson who said that the factory was operating below capacity despite the availability of enough green leaf.
“Our factory has capacity to process 100,000kgs of green leaf but we only receive 20,000kgs. This is because we lack enough capital to buy more from our outgrowers,” Siisa said.
Mabale tea factory is owned by 3,200 tea farmers located in Kyenjojo and Kabarole districts.
According to Siisa, farmers have so far planted over 24m tea seedlings that were given to them under the OWC program.
Robert Kibirango, the board Chairperson of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) said that their aim is to work on improving the wellbeing of farmers.
“We want our farmers to be able to live a better life by increasing their productivity and at the same time availing the market for their produce. That is why we worked hard to increase the acreage of tea in this area,” Kibirango said.