ZOMBO. Tea growers in Zombo district under their umbrella organization Zombo district tea growers’ cooperative society have lashed at a section of members of the public spreading lies that there is no tea in Zombo.
According to the chairman Zombo district tea growers’ cooperative society Mr Jimmy Okello, much as there were challenges regarding the inception of the tea project between 2013 and 2014, tea growing has promisingly picked up with at least 300 acres of tea now in place.
Okello was on Saturday speaking during a fact-finding visit made to the tea estates in Zeu and Aka sub-counties by a section of sub-county and district councillors.
He said those who up to now deny the existence of tea in Zombo are simply talkers who do not even have a single tea plant to show.
“You cannot go around spreading lies that there is no single tea in Zombo and what pains me is that these are the very people who have not planted a single tea plant but keep talking about what they do not have,” Okello said.
He noted that the future of tea project in the district is promising and that nothing will stop it since there is already something to show from the two sub-counties of Zeu and Aka.
When asked about the plan by the government to establish a tea factory, Okello said about 2.5 billion shillings has already been allocated and the process of establishing a tea factory in Zombo is on track.
“We now have the tea that can feed a factory and we expect the factory to be established in the next financial year,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Edwin Bekunda Atukunda, a tea expert and the director Edwin foundation, the promoter of tea growing in Northern Uganda, established a plant at the district farm institute from which he produces what has been dubbed as ‘Zombo tea.’
After the tour of the tea gardens, Atukunda said that the Edwin foundation is in the district to build the capacity of tea farmers to avoid the mistakes that marred tea growing in the past.
“We cannot continue doing the same mistakes we did when tea was introduced in the district and expect success,” he said.
He confirmed as an expert that there is truly tea in Zombo and according to reliable resources, the tea factory will be established next financial year. Atukunda also implored the leaders to exercise exemplary leadership by planting tea in a bid to attract others into tea growing.
Ms Beatrice Obima, the councillor representing workers at the district who led a team of councillors to the tea estates commended Edwin foundation for saving the tea project in Zombo through capacity building.
She equally said tea growing is in high gear and that there is truly something to show, adding that those who keep singing that there is no tea in Zombo are wasting their time.
Tea growing was introduced in Zombo and part of Nebbi district between 2013 and 2014 but its inception was marred by the rivalry between the Alur Kingdom that requested for the introduction of tea and the district leadership on grounds that they are the rightful people to implement tea growing since they have the extension services.