Tea farmers in Buhweju district are stuck with their produce due to shortage of factories.
The farmers supply their produce to Igara-Buhweju tea factory, the only factory in the district. It was constructed in 2010 with the capacity of producing 100,000 kilograms, however, the farmers are supplying much more than what the factory can process.
The affected farmers are from the sub-counties of Engaju, Nyakishana, Burere and Nyakashaka town council among others.
Ian Atamba, the Buhweju District Production Officer said that the farmers have been supplying the factory 265,500 kilograms of tea everyday. He adds that in the current season, only 150,000 kilograms of tea are supplied leaving a deficit of 110,000 kilograms of tea.
According to Atamba, the district needs at least four factories that will accept green leaf tea from the farmers.
Sebastian Byabashaija, the agricultural officer of Nyakashaka town council said that the farmers produce has been left to waste at the collection centres.
Moses Tumusiime, chairperson Nyakarambi collecting centre and a tea farmer said that they have lost a lot of money because their tea is left to dry at the centres. Tumusiime says that district leaders should lobby for more tea factories.
Beatrice Tumwebaze, another farmer said that she is frustrated because she purchased inputs such as pesticides, fertilizers to improve the quality of her produce, but she has nowhere to sell it. She says that she is stuck with over 200kilograms of tea.
Arthur Babu, a tea farmer attributed the large tea harvests to the current rains and the fertilizers that the farmers applied during the dry season.
Deo Atuhaire, the Buhweju LCV chairperson said that they have written to the Ministry of Agriculture about the shortage of tea factories in the district.