Tea Farmers Demand Research on Fertilizers and Soil

2762 Views Bushenyi, Uganda

In short
She says good quality tea leaves fetch her between 400 and 500 shillings a kilogram or more compared to low quality, which fetch less.

Tea farmers want government to carry out research on appropriate soils and fertilizers for tea growing. They argue that using the appropriate soils and fertilizers will boost their production. Christine Kembabazi, a farmer from Bunyaruguru in Lubirizi district says whenever she applies the appropriate fertilizers in her two acre tea plantation; she gets better yields and fetches better prices from buyers. She says good quality tea leaves fetch her between 400 and 500 shillings a kilogram or more compared to low quality tea leaves, which fetch less.

 Anthony Mugisha, a farmer from Butare Kyamuhanga in Bushenyi district says in 2012 he lost over 10 million shillings in tea production after he applied the wrong fertilizers in his 12 acre tea plantation. He wants government to come to the rescue of farmers by carrying research on appropriate soils and fertilizers to save farmers loses, like the one he incurred. Mugisha cites in Kenya, where government allegedly carries out research on soil types and fertilizers, which has helped boost tea production. 

Arthur Babu Muguzi, the Chairman Board of Directors Igara Tea Growers factory in Bushenyi district says that many farmers are counting loses because of planting tea on poor soils and applying inappropriate fertilizers. He says the application of inappropriate fertilizers in gardens has tremendously affected tea production. A total of 6,856 farmers from greater Bushenyi depend on tea growing for survival. Muguzi says only 34 million kilograms of unprocessed tea leave produced by members of Igara tea growers in 2012 was sold to Igara factory and later exported to Mombasa and other Asian countries after being processed.  

He says if the farmers were accessing the right fertilizers they would be able to produce much more than what is needed by both the local and international processing plants.  Tea from greater Bushenyi particularly in Buhweju district is considered the best quality on the world market.