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Trade Ministry, Zombo Leaders Intensify Efforts To Recover Missing Tea Processor


Zombo district officials led by deputy resident commissioner Grace Atim and the ministry of trade and industry embarked on recovering the tea processor for Zombo tea growers. The ministry and district officials say the machine and component was delivered to a tea expert Edwin Betukunda to deliver to farmers to crush mature trees.
The first attempt to retrieve the Machine from where it was hidden failed, as Zombo district officials including Ministry of Trade representative Julius ordered for the arrest of Amoti Nalongo whom they suspect to have the key to the warehouse.
During the moment of arrest, officials said she was frustrating the effort to retrieve the tea processing Machine meant for Zombo tea farmers. But Edwin was a no show although these officials revealed that they had contacted him about their plan to pick the machine from him.
Nalongo, a resident of Jupathombu Cell Uturgang Upper Ward Paidha town council was subsequently arrested on Friday 17th May, when district officials, tea farmers’ representatives, ministry’s officials, and police asked her to avail them with the warehouse’s key where the Machine was kept illegally but she told them that it wasn’t in her possession.TrendingPastor Caught Hiding 2000 Bags Of Fertilizer In a Church As Shocking Details Emerge
According to the district and the ministry, the machine was given to help the farmers process tea as they await the government to establish factories for full large-scale production. They implored that Edwin Betukunda, the proprietor of Edwin Foundation didn’t deliver the machine to the intended beneficiaries some two years ago over unclear reasons.
Atim, the deputy resident commissioner says they decided to commit Nalongo to Paidha police Station until Edwin produces the key to the warehouse.
“The farmers are frustrated, the tea are overgrown. The ministry saw it right to come and we retrieve the machine and hand it over to the rightful beneficiaries.” “Unfortunately, on reaching the warehouse where the machine is stored the person who is in custody of the key refused to hand over the key to the team comprising me RDC, Ministry, farmers’ representative district production officer, district commercial officer, LCV representatives and journalists.” Because of this obstruction we have decided to commit her to Paidha police station until Edwin produces the machine.” Atim shares the ordeal
Dr. Walter Kumakech the Zombo district production officer, observes that they resolved with ministry’s officials in a meeting in the district on Friday the machine be retrieved and taken to farmers in Zeu where the district have identified a place to install the tea processing machine at ministry’s cost.
He appealed to the residents of Jupathombu Cell to provide extra security and report weird movement around the warehouse at which the machine is purportedly kept.
“In today’s meeting the ministry of trade also told us the processing equipment needs one additional component to complete the processing. But it does not deter the farmers from using it as of now to do processing of tea, so they would only procure and deliver the last component when they see this current machine is being put to use.” Dr. Kumakech explained in a sideline interview with journalists.
Victor Opio, the Chairperson’s Zombo tea growers Cooperative Union, said that farmers are waiting for the machine to be used for its intended purpose adding that acres of tea belonging to hundreds of farmers have grown bushy without harvest leading to losses.
“So we are waiting to retrieve and handover this machine to us so that we can use it for its intended purpose of processing our green leaves.” Opio
Last year, the Zombo district councilors tasked the resident district commissioner, Chief Administrative Officer and LC V to avail the machine upon learning it went missing.
According to the councilors they didn’t see the machine and questioned its whereabouts. Eventually the journalists reported the story sparking public concerns among the locals who demanded for the machine.
In April 2nd 2024, The Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Auma Linda Agnes who also doubles as the woman member of Parliament for Lira District presented a committee report on a petition filed by Zombo tea nursery operators and the farmer’s association regarding the delayed supply of tea seedlings to farmers.
The Committee recommended that the government explore ways to improve market access for tea farmers, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries create capacity-building programs for local farmers in tea agronomy.
Adding that the government should disburse Shs19.5 billion to expedite the establishment of a tea factory in Zombo.
The Leader of Opposition (LOP), Joel Ssenyonyi, observed that the government ought to compensate the tea nursery operators since they were verified and given go ahead to grow the seedlings.
For his part the MP for Ora county who doubles as chairman Climate Change Committee and Chairman West Nile MPs, Laurence Songa Biyika accused Edwin mismanaging tea project in Zombo district adding that over shs40 millions of Zombo tea corporate Union have been embezzled by Edwin.
In the early 1960s, tea growing was introduced in Alur kingdom and eventually collapsed in the 1990s, consequently the government and His Royal Highness, Phillip Olarker Rauni III of Alur kingdom in 2014 revamped tea growing with emphasis to boost income to the locals.
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Trade Ministry, Zombo Leaders Intensify Efforts To Recover Missing Tea Processor

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