Speaker Among Vows Action on Tea Sector Plight.

Speaker Anita Among has assured Parliament’s commitment to addressing the grievances of the distressed tea sector, which has been grappling with plummeting prices and soaring input costs.

During a meeting with leaders from the Tea Farmers of Kabarole District who presented a petition, Speaker Among acknowledged the plight of the sector, noting that neglect has tarnished the otherwise profitable crop. She pledged that Parliament would thoroughly examine their concerns and address them systematically.

“We will meticulously scrutinize your grievances and address them step by step. Thank you for entrusting Parliament with your issues… I’ve heard reports of farmers uprooting their tea plantations out of frustration. Through the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Parliament will diligently address your concerns,” she stated on Monday, February 26, 2024.

Speaker Among emphasized that unlike coffee and cotton, which benefit from robust marketing support systems, the tea sector lacks a proper institutional framework to promote marketing and negotiate favorable prices and subsidies.

“There is a notable absence of a marketing strategy for tea. We lack adequate mechanisms to promote tea, despite its strategic importance and significant revenue generation. We should establish a legal framework to support its cultivation, marketing, and quality management,” she added.

The petition presented by Mr. Sifar Sanyu, in the presence of Mr. Richard Rwabuhinga, President of the Uganda Local Government Association, highlighted key concerns such as pricing issues and the need for a comprehensive tea policy.

“Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, should expedite the enactment of a comprehensive tea policy to address issues of green leaf and processed tea quality, thereby enhancing Uganda’s tea selling prices in the global market,” the petition read in part.

The tea farmers also appealed for a Shs5 billion stabilization fund to support struggling stakeholders, a one-year waiver on corporate statutory obligations, and subsidies on inputs for the sector.

According to Rule 30 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure, petitions are managed through a structured process, starting with presentation by a Member of Parliament, referral to the relevant Committee, and eventual consideration by the House, addressing specific requests outlined in the petition.