Museveni’s tea math in Bushenyi doesn’t add up: Is Swazi Highland Tea as big as Mukwano?
We should be grateful that the Western Uganda and District of Bushenyi get some of the promised factories, that the President has pledged over the years. The promises of Tea-Factories goes back to campaigns in 2004 and I am sure if you dig more back. You could find President Yoweri Kaguta Musveni promising that while it was a British enclave. However, the propaganda from National Resistance Movement (NRM) doesn’t make sense today. Because the numbers game isn’t their strong-suit, that is why they are known for rigging elections, not winning them. Honestly, these numbers doesn’t add up.
“I also toured Swazi Highland Tea Company Limited in Kisingo village, Kyamuhunga Sub-county owned by Africano Bakahwenkyi. The factory produces 50,000kgs of tea daily and employs about 350 staff. I then commissioned Global Village Tea of Hassan Bassajabala. The factory employs 620 workers and produces 20,000kgs of tea per day in a peak season. 60% of the production is got from the out growers while 40% is from the factory’s tea estate. I thank Bakahwenkyi and Bassajabala for understanding and implementing the gospel of wealth creation. Tea production has gone up. From one factory, you can now get the total tonnage of the amount of tea Uganda used to produce when the NRM had just come into power” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 26.08.2018)
“In 1988, the government attempted to control tea prices, by doubling producers’ prices to Ush.20 (US$ 0.12) per kilogram, as an incentive to boost production. However, production remained below expectation. 13 ECONOMIC POLICY RESEARCH CENTRE – EPRC Uganda’s Tea Sub-sector: A comparative Review of Trends, Challenges and Coordination Failures For example, the 1989 output of 4,620 tonnes was below 1986 which was 5600 tonnes (NPA, 2007” Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) – ‘UGANDA’S TEA SUB-SECTOR: A COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF TRENDS, CHALLENGES AND COORDINATION FAILURES’, P: 12-13, September 2014).
Why I am doing this, is that these factories on top days are production in total 70 tons of tea. That is the words of the President. The total production in 1986 of tea in the whole of the Republic was 5600 tonnes.
If the numbers was peak season and all year from the one factory, that means they would be able to produce 50 tons times 365, which means 17,800 tons. That is more than, well, in 1986. But that is the top production. Which would be a staggering amount, as the numbers of production in total from the Uganda Tea Association was the total production 39,298,960 tons in 2017, that is all over the republic. Not only in Bushenyi district. As the top producing districts aren’t in Bushenyi, but in Kabale and Kanungu districts. Therefore, that Bushenyi would be able from one factory to produce 17000 tons of the total 39,000 tons is a bit of stretch, especially knowing that this isn’t the top producing area. That would mean the top producing areas only stands for 22,000 metric tons of tea, while Bushenyi on the one factory produces about 17,000 metric tons of it. Doesn’t that sound weird?
Why I find these numbers all weird is because on the Mukwano Group Company Profile of 2018, the well established tea producer, which is familiar and has produced tea at an established rate. Have these numbers:
“Buzirasagama, Hiima, Munobwa and Kigumba Tea factories were built with a capacity of 220,000 Green Leaf or 53,000kg Made Tea per day. At Hiima and Kigumba there are two lines of Orthodox Tea manufacturing units with a production capacity of 20,000Kg Green leaf or 4,000 Made Tea per day. Green Tea, which contains high levels of anti-oxidants, is Rwenzori Commodities’ new product produced at the Kigumba factory with a production capacity of 1000Kg green leaf or 250 kg Made Tea per day” (Mukwano Company Group Corporate Profile of 2018).
With that in mind, Mukwano Group and with the amount of made tea when calculating is 53 tons per day times 356 days is equal to 18,868 tons of tea. When taking in account the numbers from Swazi Highland tea, which are 17,800 tons, means those two producers are making 36,668 tons in a year. That means these two companies are having most of the market and no one else. As the Uganda Tea Association numbers cannot have changed that rapidly. Unless, there been a rate of production that the East African or other media houses haven’t captured.
The President is right about the possible production in the factory, that it is larger than when he took power in 1986. But the total production and calculations doesn’t make sense to anyone. Unless, he has given Swazi Highland Tea, the same level of production as the Mukwano Group has already. Would that be true?
I just beg to differ, unless there been an unreported surge in tea production at levels that is beyond me and that last year was fluke. If so, kudos, if not, the 50 tons production at Swazi Highland Tea is a big as Mukwano. Would Mukwano be happy about that?