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Buhweju tea farmers demand UGX 3B from Igara tea factory

Buhweju tea farmers

Buhweju, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Tea farmers in Buhweju district are seeking compensation of over three billion Shillings from the Igara Growers Tea Factory. They claim to have provided the factory with green- tea leaves over four months but have not received payment.

Nicholas Abenaitwe, a tea farmer, expresses the economic crisis faced by the community, emphasizing that tea is their sole source of income. Going four months without pay is a significant source of frustration for them.

Jonathan Muhanguzi, another tea farmer, highlights that they’ve taken loans from cooperative societies with high interest rates. Payment delays are causing financial strain, despite the factory processing their supplied green leaf and successfully selling the processed teas in the auction market in Mombasa.

Muhanguzi emphasizes that the tea farmers from the Buhweju district are considering separating their factory from Igara to manage it independently, especially since the factory has expanded to an international level. Ronald Rwankangi, the Director of Igara Growers Tea Factory, explains the financial challenges the factory is facing.

He mentions a crisis of price fluctuations, with the price of a kilo of green leaf diminishing from 600 to 200 and further to 150. Rwankangi adds that the factory currently operates at a loss of 4 cents. The earnings can only cover the essential needs of the factory, distinguishing it from other factories in the same area.

Igara and Buhweju are two tea-processing factories owned by Igara Grower’s Tea Factory Ltd, which is comprised of small-scale tea farmers in the greater Bushenyi district. The Buhweju tea factory, established in 2006 as a presidential pledge, processes over 17 million kilograms of green leaf per year with 2,400 shareholders. Meanwhile, Igara Grower’s Tea factory boasts over 7,000 shareholders and close to a 50 billion Shilling turnover.



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