NAADS interventions in the tea Sector Attract Arab Investors
Investors from United Arab Emirates (UAE) have expressed interest in establishing seven tea processing factories in Uganda. The duo from Elite Agro – an agro processing company based in UAE were in the country for five days from 25th to 30th November 2021 to explore opportunities in tea processing.
The business delegation was on invitation by H.E the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni having met them during his visit to the ongoing Dubai Expo in UAE and wooed them to come and invest in Uganda.
The team that was led by Dr. Abdul Monem Almarzooqi, the Executive Director and Board Member of Elite Agro visited a number of tea farms, existing tea factories and proposed sites for new tea factories to ascertain Uganda’s potential and capacity in tea production. They visited the tea growing districts of Kisoro, Rukiga, Bushenyi, Sheema, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Zombo and Buikwe where they interacted with tea farmers and the leadership of the districts.
The investors were led and guided by the Executive Director National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) Dr. Samuel Mugasi and the Director Crop Resources from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Mr. Steven Byantware.
Dr. Abdul Monem Almarzooqi was impressed with the tea development in Uganda and said after the visit, the team would go back and make an assessment of what they have seen and later make a decision on the way forward.
“Based on what we have seen, Uganda has enough green leaf for us to establish close to seven tea processing factories”, explained Dr. Almarzooqi
Dr. Samuel Mugasi said Uganda currently produces over 80,000 metric tons of tea annually which is over and above the processing capacity of the 32 existing tea processing factories in the country.
“Since 2013, Government through NAADS under the Tea Industry Expansion Initiative has procured and distributed over 500 million tea seedlings to farmers resulting into increased production of green leaf”, explained Dr. Mugasi
Dr. Mugasi says there is need for increased investment in the national tea processing capacity starting with the 19 factories which are still in the pipeline.
Currently, tea is the fourth largest agricultural export commodity following coffee, maize and fisheries. Tea has produced an average 3.6% of Uganda’s export earnings over the last five years and is recognized to have a higher potential to contribute more to national income, employment and environmental conservation. Over the past 8 years, tea has been fetching an averaged earning of US$ 76 million for the country having apexed at US$ 93.879 in 2018. Tea employs close to 80,000 farming households and supports 150,000 skilled and unskilled workers. About 1,000,000 people directly derive their livelihoods from tea growing.