On the 15th to the 16th March 2018, UDC carried out a capacity enhancement training of Zombo/Nebbi tea farmers at the Zonal Agricultural Farm Institute in Aka Subcounty Zombo district.
The training exercise attracted over 260 participants that comprised a total of 185 farmers from Zombo and Nebbi districts, central and local government officials (i.e. both political and technical), representatives of the Alur Kingdom; and representatives of the Uganda Tea Development Agency Ltd (UTDAL)
UDC spearheaded a multi-agency team intervention that comprised of staff from; UDC, NAADS/OWC secretariat; the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (Crop Production Dept); and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (Cooperatives Dept) with an overall objective of undertaking a 2 days training of tea farmers in the region in order to achieve the following objectives;
i. Facilitate farmers and other key stakeholders to appreciate the roles of UDC and the would be project roadmap that would have to be implemented to ensure the establishment of an economically viable CTC tea factory that would, once operational guarantee a ready market for the farmers’ fresh green leaf produce. In this case the socio-economic benefits that would be realized at both the micro (e.g. increased farmers income); and macro levels (e.g. increased contribution of the tea crop to Uganda’s GDP) would be emphasized to the farmers and other identified key stakeholders e.g. the local district leaderships and Alur Kingdom. This would answer the question of why it is important for the Zombo/Nebbi farmers to adopt the tea cultivation culture.
ii. Enhance the capacity of the target tea farmers in Zombo and Nebbi to further appreciate the crop husbandry requirements that are required to ensure that the supplied tea seedlings can survive and mature beyond 3 years (after which they could start the continuous harvesting the green leaf crop for sale to the proposed tea factory). This would provide the perquisites that have to be executed, without which there would be no economically viable tea factory.
iii. Enlighten farmers about the benefits of operating in farmers groups during the cultivation, harvesting, postharvest handling and sale of the tea crop. In this case the would be socio-economic benefits of farmers operating in cooperative groups and unions with an objective of harnessing the most out of the tea crop would be emphasized. This would enable farmers to appreciate the fact that they would be less susceptible to exploitation by middle men and therefore stand to gain more out of their efforts only if they operated under groups instead of operating as individuals.
iv. In line with (i), (ii), (iii) above, initiate a synergized inter-agency collaboration mechanism whereby all the mandated agencies and stakeholders would be able to further appreciate their mandates and roles and how best to ensure an expedited adoption of tea growing in the area that would result in the establishment of an economically viable CTC tea factory in the target region.