THE Union of Tea farmers is at the final stages of establishing an Apex Society which is expected to bring together all cooperative communities in the industry countrywide.
This is in efforts to tackle production challenges and processing and looking for possible markets for the product.
Leaders of 41 tea unions from different parts of the country met in Dodoma to present their recommendations to the Ministry of Agriculture and receive all possible blessings before the completion of the envisaged process.
Presenting their report before Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, the officials said it was high time for them to have a national umbrella like in other agricultural products so that they could have a platform to look for solutions on the challenges they face.
Speaking at the meeting, Secretary of the Interim Board of the Tea Apex Association, Khamis Kaniki said farmers in the tea sector had for a long time lacked unity; therefore, by establishing the apex association, they will have one voice that will increase efficiency and effectiveness in production, transportation and wider markets in the product.
Mr Bashe commended the idea of establishing the apex association and directed the Registrar of Cooperative Unions to make sure that come July this year, the apex society kicks off operations so that the challenges of tea producers were solved just like it was being done in other agricultural products.
One of the smallholder tea farmers from Mufindi District in Iringa Region, Mr Santino Mdeta said that establishment of an apex body will help many farmers who were encountering several challenges in their regional organisations.
“This body will also create awareness amongst farmers to establish small sized industries in areas where tea is being lost in farms due to the fact that major factories are unable to collect all the products,’’ he noted.
Mr Mdeta further added that the national tea body will ensure that there was bulk procurement of fertiliser in the country, thus reducing the cost of buying the product