Tea Farmers in Kanungu Lose UGX 300m to Bad Roads

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In short
Most of the tea is grown by outgrowers in Kambuga and Mpungu. But Byaruhanga says that green leaf tea worth more than 300 million shillings was left to waste, because the buyers could not access the tea collection centers in the rainy season.

Tea farmers in Kanungu district have lost 300 million shillings due to the poor state of roads in the district, Frank Byaruhanga, a district councilor has said.
 
Most of the tea is grown by outgrowers in Kambuga and Mpungu. But Byaruhanga says that green leaf tea worth more than 300 million shillings was left to waste, because the buyers could not access the tea collection centers in the rainy season.
 
On Friday, a group of people from Kanungu petitioned parliament seeking its quick intervention to rectify the road problem in Kanungu district.
 
Armed with a petition signed by more than 80,000 people, the lead petitioner, Charles Beeshesya, said parliament must speed up an approval to tarmac the Rukungiri- Ishasha- Kanungu road.
 
Beeshasya handed the petition to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga. He said that government pledged to tarmac the 74KM road 23 years ago (1988) but no attention has been given to this road since.
 
The petitioners claimed that many people have been injured after falling off the few trucks that attempt to maneuver through the bad roads.
 
Byaruhanga  noted that six mothers died in labor recently because the road linking  Mpungu health centre (III) about 116KM to the referral hospital, is also “sick”.
 
“Access to the health facilities is not easy and unless this road (Rukungiri- Ishasha- Kanungu) is tarmacked in the next financial year, farmers shall not continue with agriculture.” Byaruhanga told the Speaker Kadaga, who was backed by parliament commissioners Emmanuel Dombo and Chris Baryomunsi at Parliament.
 
The councilors said that civil servants have shunned employment in the district due to the  poor road network.
 
“In Kanungu district hospital for example, we have only one doctor. Whenever we advertise, people apply but do not appear for interviews and this continues to be a challenge to our district despite the district’s rich heritage of natural resources,” Kihihi town council representative James Kaberuka noted.
 
According to Beeshesya, despite having huge potential for tourism and regional trade, Kanungu district remains a hard to reach area.
 
“Gorillas in Bwindi are many but you find tourists going to Rwanda than Uganda because of the poor infrastructure,” said Flugence Muhumuza, Rugyeyo district councilor.
 
He also noted that the district’s revenue from tourism was ever declining due to the poor road network, with the estimated loss standing at 60%.
 
In their petition, the district leadership asked the Speaker to task government to prioritize the road in the next financial year, the request Kadaga promised to follow up.
“The 80, 000 signatures appended onto this petition reflect the pressure the population is under. Next week, we shall place it on the order paper to go to the relevant committee to see how quickly we can first track this problem,” said Kadaga.