Tea factories ordered to resume operations

DODOMA: THE government has directed two private companies owning tea processing factories to continue with operations in Korogwe and Rungwe districts in Tanga and Mbeya districts respectively even as dialogue between the former and the latter continues.

Mohammed Enterprises Ltd and DC group recently suspended operations in the two regions, raising eyebrows from farmers who were selling the products to the factories.

This raised queries from a section of MPs in parliament yesterday, with Korogwe Rural lawmaker, Timotheo Mnzava (CCM) requesting the House Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson to suspend business schedule in parliament to debate the matter which he termed as an emergency issue as per the House Standing Orders.

“Honourable madam speaker, as I speak now, for two months now, residents from nine wards of Korogwe district cannot process their tea, nether do they have anywhere to sell their products after the factory suspended business, rendering majority others jobless,’’ charged the lawmaker, insisting that the situation in the district was very weird.

However, the Agriculture Minister, Hussein Bashe chipped in after he was asked by the National Assembly Speaker to offer clarification over the issue.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, the two companies had been asked by the government to resume business even as dialogue between them and the government was still ongoing.

“We sent a technical team from the ministry and after an assessment report, we directed the companies to resume business or else the government will take the privatized factories back,’’ he added.

The minister assured the residents in Lupembe, Rungwe district and Korogwe that should the investors fail to resume operations the government would take the privatized firms immediately.

The minister was quick to point out that before the end of the ongoing parliamentary session, the government will table a report in the august House on the progress of the two privatized firms.

However, the House speaker was not satisfied with the delay in taking action, insisting that the dilly-dallying would cost farmers whose tea risk perishing as they need immediate processing after harvests.

Dr Ackson therefore, asked the minister to make an immediate decision on the matter so as to help the majority of farmers.

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