Kabarole tea farmers petition Speaker Among over price fluctuation

The main concern centered around prices and a comprehensive policy on tea, among others.

Kampala: Tea farmers from Kabarole district have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, over price fluctuation and expensive inputs.

The petition was presented by Mr. Sifar Sanyu in the presence of Mr. Richard Rwabuhinga, the President of the Uganda Local Government Association.

The main concern centered around prices and a comprehensive policy on tea, among others.

“Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries to spearhead a faster process of enacting a comprehensive tea policy that will address issues of green leaf and processed tea quality, thus increasing the selling prices of Uganda’s tea on the global market,” reads the petition in part.

The tea farmers prayed for a 5 billion shilling stabilization fund to bail out those struggling in the sector, a one-year waiver of corporate statutory obligations, and a subsidy on inputs for the sector.

Speaker Among gave parliament’s assurances to the distraught tea sector, which is hurt by price drops and expensive inputs.

“We are going to exhaustively look at your prayers and handle them one by one; thank you for choosing Parliament to handle your issues. I have heard other farmers cutting down their tea plantations out of frustration; Parliament through the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries will adequately address your concerns,” said Among.

She also added that unlike coffee and cotton, which have various systems supporting their marketing, the tea sector is noticeably bereft of any institutional framework to support its marketing and negotiate better prices and subsidies.

“There is no marketing strategy for tea; we don’t have appropriate mechanisms to promote tea, yet it is strategic and brings in so much money; we should have a legal framework to support its growth, marketing, and quality management,” she added.

Rule 30 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure provides mechanisms for managing petitions, which starts with a Member of Parliament presenting it to Parliament, sent to the relevant Committee, and then disposed of by the House through considering specific prayers in the Committee.

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