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Uganda To Set Up Tea Auction

by Wangah Wanyama
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By John Masaba

The Government has announced plans to set up its own tea auction market, exiting the over 60-year-old Mombasa auction market, where all Uganda’s tea destined for export is sold.

Information minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi last week said the proposal resulted from a committee asked to study the challenges facing the tea industry as the Government works to reform the sector.

He added that the move is one of the ways of ensuring that Uganda gets more value from selling her tea to the world market.

 “Instead of auctioning it there (Mombasa) where it even goes unbranded, we are now going to establish the market here and we feel this will help in supporting and facilitating the industry,” he said, adding that the auction market will be based in Kampala.  

He said the Cabinet has already asked technocrats in government to assess the proposal and report back with findings.

The weekly Mombasa tea auction currently serves Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi, Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda, Madagascar and Uganda.

It is here that the regional teas, including from Uganda, are offered for sale at the Mombasa auction by East African Tea Traders Association before they are shipped out to international destinations such as Dubai, Pakistan, and Europe.

The minister said the move will also help to address the ongoing challenges facing the tea industry which has plunged farmers in a crisis.

Baryomunsi added that although the issues facing the industry currently are global and are exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the Sudan as well as the economic crisis in Pakistan and Egypt, Uganda cannot leave the issue to industry players alone to solve because of the importance of tea to the economy.

According to the minister, prices are currently going for shillings 150 per kilo of green leaf down from shillings 450 before the crisis.  

“In areas of Toro, the farmers have started uprooting the tea while others have abandoned their gardens,” he said.

The minister was speaking at the Uganda Media Centre on the week’s resolutions of the Cabinet. President Yoweri Museveni presided over the meeting on Monday, March 4, 2024, at State House Entebbe.

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