Leaders and Tea farmers in Kisoro district have resolved to petition President Yoweri Museveni and the Minister of Trade Hon Amelia Kyambadde, over the Shs 3.7 Billion shillings tea factory that was built in the area but is not operating.
Tea farmers are also pushing for inclusive ownership of the Nyakabande based Kigezi Highland Tea Factory which they say government has failed to manage.
The concerns came up during the Kisoro tea farmers meeting at Kisoro district council hall on Monday.
The farmers were led by Tressy Bucyanayandi the Former Agriculture Minister, John Tumuheirwe the Nyundo LCIII chairman and John Nzeyimana Kamara the Bufumbira North MP and tea farmer.
Bucyanayandi noted that the fact that government injected 3.7 billion Shillings in the factory and it is not working is a shame.
The former minister stressed that Kigezi region, the country’s leading tea producer; needs this factory at full operation more than anything else.
He revealed that he himself as a farmer has been losing up to Shs. 3million every week due to lack of market for his tea.
“Last week, I disposed of over 7000 kilograms of tea leaves, after failing to get market. A kilogram of tea leaves is buying at 500 shillings in Kisoro,” he said.
As a way of addressing this, the former minister said government needs to open up the factory for shareholding for local farmers.
“Government spent millions of shillings building an Irish potatoes factory in the district which later collapsed. It is time that government for government to let us take charge of these assets. Kisoro members of parliament need to take it as a matter of national importance and present it on the floor of parliament. People are making a lot of losses” Said Bucyanayandi.
At the event, John Kamara the Bufumbira North MP regretted the plight of farmers and described the state of the tea factory as regrettable. He vowed to support the shareholding proposal.