Earnings from Uganda's cash crops of Tea, Cotton and Coffee remained stable this year despite the Global financial downturn. Robert Ejiku, the manager of Igara Growers Tea Factory in Bushenyi, says the decline in demand in the west was compensated by the increase in demand from the East. He says that as a result of the increase in demand a kilogram of tea shot from 2,500 shillings in the previous season to a minimum of 3,500 shillings this season. Out growers with the finest quality tea were also gifted with higher prices and bonuses. Ejiku says the high tea prices rode on an increase in tea production owing to the heavy and consistent rains in the last half of this year. He says Igara tea growers alone produced 4.2 million kilograms of tea. Uganda produces close to 40,000 tons of tea annually. Meanwhile cotton farmers in West Nile are all smiles after nearly 400 percent increase in cotton prices following an influx of buyers. Unlike in the past when just one buyer monopolized cotton buying in the region, this time around a record eight buyers have descended on the region. The high demand increased the price of cotton from 300 shillings to 1,200 shillings up to the festive season. Bernard Muswa, a farmer in Panyimur sub-county in Nebbi District, says he produced 9,000 kilogrammes, earning him a whopping nine million shillings. In the new Zombo District, a small group of coffee farmers also for the first time pooled their produce for export and earned 350 million shillings. Tom Ufoyuru, the Nebbi District Production Coordinator, says they want to mobilize more farmers next season to join the Arabica coffee export initiative. Ufoyuru says because of the high quality of Okoro coffee, buyers from Mbale have been rushing to buy them off and then repackage it as Elgon coffee and export at a much higher price.
Updated: 29 Mar, 12:3812:38
About the author
In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."