ZOMBO – Zombo Tea Growers’ Cooperative Society Limited is using a multipronged recruitment push to draw more farmers into the cooperative in its renewed effort to popularize tea growing in the West Nile sub-region.
The cooperative, which started with 300 members in 2016, has grown over 500 acres of tea.
Interviewed, Chairman Christopher Unencan told theCooperator that the recruitment drive is tailored to shore up membership and expand the acreage of tea grown in Zombo. The existing members have grown about 500 acres of tea, which they are already harvesting. The cooperative has another 22 acres of tea, which will be ready for harvest next year.
Unencan revealed that registration started in February 2021 and has already drawn in 200 new tea farmers. Each share goes for Shs 10,000 and membership fees cost Shs 5,000.
“We are registering farmers because we want to increase the number of acres of tea, so we can register even 500 farmers this season. We are doing this because we want to get massive support from the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) to make our cooperative bigger and stronger,” Unencan said.
NAADS is a statutory semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF).
The cooperative is also looking to acquire another 20 acres of land.
“Individual farmers have their acres, but as a cooperative, we are also planning to have more acres. We already have 22 acres, but we are planning to add 20 more acres this season,” Unencan said.
Geoffrey Jungiera, secretary of the cooperative, said they want to expand to other sub-counties and districts as well.
“We will soon take the names of the newly registered farmers to the district so that they get inputs from NAADS. We are also encouraging out-growers in other sub-counties and districts, who have available land to grow tea,” Jungiera said.
Recently, Zombo tea growers’ cooperative society signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Edwin Tea Foundation Initiative, to promote research in tea, promote its products on a large scale and add value to it for the next five years.
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