Tea is a one of the major cash crops grown in Uganda. It was introduced in Uganda in 1900 and became an important crop from about 1945 onwards as large private tea estates were developed by Europeans and Asians. The Government encouraged indigenous farmers into the tea industry in the 1960s with the establishment of the Uganda Tea Growers Corporation (UTGC) in 1966. The UTGC assisted small-scale farmers to grow tea and it established 4 smallholder factories to process green leaf tea produced by smallholders.
Ownership of the tea industry:
The Uganda Tea industry is 100% privately owned. Tea is grown on estates (big plantations) by about 55% and smallholders by 45%.
Currently there are 28 factories processing tea for the international market. These are owned by 17 companies and individuals 4 of which are smallholder association companies owning 5 tea processing factories. All the 17 companies/entities each, exports its own processed tea to the international market under its brand name. They are all members of the Uganda Tea Association (UTA)
UTA is a voluntary registered organization limited by guarantee, coordinating and advocating for the interests of members. It is a member of the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA), under which the Mombasa Tea Auction is conducted. She is also a member of the international Tea Committee (ITC).
Within the Country UTA is a member of the following:
- Private Sector foundation of Uganda (PSFU)
- Uganda Manufacturers Association(UMA) and
- The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI)