Buhweju Leaders drafts Ordinance to regulate Tea Industry.
After waiting for Government to come up with a Tea policy to regulate the tea industry in vain, authorities of Buhweju district have moved in to mitigate the situation.
The authorities have started the process of drafting a Tea Value Addition Ordinance which seeks to streamline and regulate the entire Tea Value Addition Chain in Buhweju.
Tea is currently Buhweju’s leading cash crop that majority of people depend on for a livelihood.
The district Chairman Deo Atuhaire said its high time government supports their efforts in trying to regulate the tea industry saying, “Any activity that is growing very fast requires regulation. We don’t know why government has neglected the tea sector for all this time yet it has invested in money to distribute tea seedlings.”
Addressing Journalists after its 2nd reading, the district chairman said, “But now that we have started, we hope it’s going to awaken government to support our efforts.”
Ian Atamba the district production coordinator says currently about 350.000Kilograms of green tea leaves are harvested on daily basis across the district. It is hoped that with millions of tea seedlings that government has distributed to farmers since 2011 to 2022, the production is expected to triple.
“Coming up with such an ordinance is preparing for what is likely to happen in the next two years,” Atamba said.
Out of the above harvested kilograms, about 40% is of good quality which has prompted the district to think outside ‘the box.’
The ordinance is to put in place mechanisms of making sure that there are; Standard specifications for nursery bed operators, certification of agro input dealers, and enforcement of garden agronomic practices.
It will also regulate tea pluckers and prohibit the plucking of overgrown Green Leaf. It also seeks to ensure that there is enforcement of required standards for tea collection, establishment of tea roads and infrastructural development, regulating post-harvest handling standards like loading and transport of green leaf.
The tea factories will be required to address issues of handling of green tea and at some stage the district council will be entering into memorandum of understanding with tea factories in the district.
The authorities argue that the ordinance is intended to help every stakeholder in the Tea value addition chain. “Once the exported tea is of high quality, our tea will standout on the international market, fetch a better price to benefit whoever is engaged in tea industry………” Atuhaire said. End.
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