Bumbuli — Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa ended a five-year ordeal for tea farmers from five tea schemes in Bumbuli when he announced the reopening of tea processing operations at Mponde Tea Factory that closed in 2013 after they were involved in a conflict with an investor.
Announcing the reopening of the factory, Majaliwa said the government decided to reopen the factory, which was repossessed in 2016 by the government, to ease farmers’ economic and social problems.
Tea is the main commercial crop for residents of Bumbuli District Council and one of the major sources of revenue for the council.
The factory was managed by an investor who had been hired by Usambara Tea Growers Association (Utega) until 2013 when a conflict, which had been simmering silently for years, exploded and farmers opted to stop selling their green tea leaves to the firm leaving the management in a dilemma.
Mr Majaliwa directed the minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Charles Mwijage, to ensure the factory commences operations today to make life easier for farmers who had endured suffering from its closure as it had been a major buyer of their tea leaves.
Bumbuli Member of Parliament January Makamba said the announcement was a victory for tea farmers who would get income from selling green leaves to the factory.
Mr Makamba who is the minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Environment and Union Affairs) said he believed the work which the people of Bumbuli had sent him to do had been accomplished in spite of the long time it had taken to get a final resolution.
He said he was pained to see the people of Bumbuli where the five tea schemes suffer because of the closure.
“I am glad that the factory is being reopened because I had sleepless nights seeing farmers suffering as a result of the closure,” he said.
History shows that the factory was commissioned on September 14, 1971 and officially opened on December 28, 1973 by then Prime Minister and second Vice President Rashid M. Kawawa.
The factory was built by then Tanzania Tea Authority (TTA) to serve indigenous small-scale tea farmers in both Lushoto and Korogwe districts in then West Usambara.
In December 1999 it was privatised and sold to Usambara Tea Growers’ Association with financing from LushotoTea Company Ltd.
The government was forced to break the sale agreement because UTEGA contravened sections of the agreement.
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Publish date : 2018-11-02 11:11:46