Feasibility study for tea processing in Rukungiri district
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Tea is a valuable crop in the world. In Uganda, it was introduced in 1900 and by 1950s, it had become Uganda’s mostly grown estate crop and currently, it is Uganda’s third largest export commodity by value. Tea production is not only considered as a tool to fight poverty through its ability to source employment to households but also as a strategic export due to its ability to earn export revenue. Hence in efforts to increase the tea production capacity, through the agricultural sector development and investment plan (DSIP) the government of Uganda encouraged small scale tea growing and construction of factories in new districts of Rukungiri, Kanungu and Bushenyi. However, in Rukungiri, there has been stagnated progress since the current tea output is being transported long distances to Bushenyi and Kayonza for processing hence reducing the margin on farmers’ output. This study was aimed at assessing the Tea processing capacity of Rukungiri District and site suitability analysis for tea factory establishment in Rukungiri district using a GIS based multi criteria approach. The factors considered were geology, land cover, soil properties, town centre proximity and water supply. All these factors were represented in ArcGIS 10.3 environment using GIS datasets of elevation, slope, soil type, DEM, distance from lakes, rivers, streams, main roads and geology. All data was stored and analysed in model builder in ArcGIS 10.3. The Analytical hierarchical process method which is one of the widely used. MCDM techniques were usedto obtain the weight for each factor depending on its relative importance. A tea factory of machine capacity 380-400 kg per hour, operated at 16 hours per day for 26 days per month was rendered feasible for construction. It was observed that 8.05% of the total area was under highly suitable areas 77.3% moderately suitable areas. 13.9 % under marginally suitable areas and 0.75% under areas which are not suitable for establishment of tea factory with parishes of Rwerere, Kigaaga, Rushasha highly recommendable for construction. The results from this study will be used in the optimization of tea industry in Rukungiri and other districts of relevance.