By Deo Okoodi
The Assistant Commissioner for Crop production together with NAADS Agro- business Development officer have been accused by state minister for economic monitoring for frustrating presidents efforts to promote the expansion of tea industry in the old tea growing districts within the country.
Dr. Kasirivu Baltazar Atwooki while meeting tea nursery bed operators from the western region at Cephas Inn in Kabale municipality said that the two government technocrats Alex Bwakuba and Everest Mulumba deliberately refused to release money for the district tea seedlings verification teams in the region in order to verify the right beneficiaries of tea seedlings procured by government on credit.
He said the payment of verification teams by NAADS secretariat was agreed upon in a meeting chaired by the prime minister last year but was so surprised when the NAADS agro-business development officer Everest Mulumba said pushed the responsibility to district authorities yet they have no vote for such an activity.
The government has since 2016 been procuring tea seedlings on credit from tea nursery bed operators in Ankole and Kigezi sub regions, which are later supplied to farmers in a bid to support tea growing and processing and contribute to poverty eradication among the citizenry.
However the supply overshot the budget hence putting government at log head with suppliers who are demanding over 100billion shillings in arrears. As a result tea Factories that were under construction in Kabale and Kisoro districts have since been abandoned and the planted tea has started flowering in some areas within the region.
The prevailing situation forced government to come up with district verification teams to find out right beneficiaries since some nursery operators allegedly supplied seedlings without formal contracts.
But since then no verification exercise has taken place in most western tea growing districts and farmers are regretting as to why they responded to presidents call of poverty eradication
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website