Tea was introduced into the country in the 1990s and from that time it became a major cash crop in the country. The country has over 21, 000 ha of land that is being used for tea growing and this includes both private and government tea growing. The importance of tea growing in Uganda is: it is a major cash crop which brings in income to both the government and the farmers and it is employment to the locals. Because of the high demand and limited information among Ugandan tea farmers, the government created a group to join the farmers from the different parts of the country that is Uganda Tea Growers Corporation and this has assisted farmers in getting ready market for the tea, encouraging farmers to grow high quality tea and also establishing factories that help with processing of the tea.
Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the whole world and Uganda is one of the high producing tea countries in the world. Tea can be consumed in two different ways: hot tea or iced tea. Tea growing involves a step by step process which includes planting, pruning, fertilizing and harvesting. If you rightly follow the procedure, it will ensure that you have a profitable tea farm. There are numerous tea varieties types in Uganda and there are the green, black and Oolong tea. The only thing that differentiates the three is the way in which they ferment. There is a very large market for the tea both within and outside the country and the two ways in which you can increase on the market for the tea and these include the following:
tea production is mainly carried out using a plant which is known as the camellia Sinensis and it helps in production of the different types of teas for example yellow tea, green tea, black tea and white tea among others. The production of tea increases its demand on the local and global market.
Packaging and selling of the tea
packaged trees have a high demand on the global market as compared to other types of teas that are not packaged.
Tea Growing Areas In Uganda
- Slopes of Rwenzori Mountain
- Mubende and Mityana
- Hoima, kanungu, Kyenjojo and wakiso.
Some of the tea factories that are found in the country include Mabale Tea factory in Kyenjojo, Igara tea factory in Bushenyi, kayonza factory in Kanungu and Mpanga tea factory in Kabarole, Madhivani group of companies, Rwenzori commodity limited and Uganda tea corporation to mention but a few.
How to start tea farming in Uganda
Carry out the necessary research
research involves looking for the tea varieties that are on the market, the ones that can easily be grown in Uganda and what you need to run the tea farm. Carry out consultations in the field with other tea growers and also check out the web or libraries to find out more about tea growing in the country.
Get the necessary training
the best place for one to get necessary training for tea growing is from already established farmers. Get hands on information and training by engaging in the day to day running of the tea farms with other farmers and when you are through with the training you will be ready to start your tea growing business. When you are through with your training, you will be ready to choose the types of tea that you are to plant depending on the location and the market demand.
Planting of tea
tea grows best in acidic soils and the things that you should put into consideration while planning a tea farm include climate, the availability of labour and the PH of the soil. The PH should be between 4 to 5.8 and you can plant as many seeds as you need on the land depending on the money available.
Harvesting of tea
Tea harvesting in Uganda requires a lot of time since most of them are handpicked by the farmer and other employees.
If you want to get the best quality tea from the farm, it is advisable that you pick only the 3rd and 2nd leaf including their bud and ignore the 1st Also prune the mature leaves before you start harvesting. Fine plucking will ensure that you get the finest tea after processing. This type of harvesting also ensures that you get better tea.
coarse plucking refers to the plucking of more than two leaves from the tea tree while harvesting. This type of harvesting ensures that you get large quantities of tea after processing.
Tea Types in Uganda
It is after harvesting that processing of the tea takes place and this is when you get the different types of tea that are grown in the country. There are three types of tea that are mainly taken in Uganda and these include black tea, Oolong tea and green tea.
this is also known as red tea and it has similar characteristics with the black teas as they are prepared in the same way however their leaves are not fermented and they take a short period of time to dry.
green tea is mainly known for its medicinal values and it is made by first steaming the leaves to stop oxidation, then they are expressed to get the flavour before they are heated and then dried.
this is made by fist drying the tea leaves to create oxidation and then they are rolled and placed in heat to stop oxidation before making the black tea.