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The Uganda Coffee Federation (UCF) has proposed that registration
of farmers be conducted by value chain actors through their affiliated groups
and not government.
The National Coffee bill 2018, proposes the registration of farmers capturing
details of the size of land, number of coffee trees and particulars of the
farmers, coffee buyers and sellers among others.
The bill also proposes that land, where the coffee is to be grown shall
be evaluated by Uganda Coffee Development Authority- UCDA to determine whether
or not it is suitable for coffee growing.
The bill proposes a 2-year jail term if a farmer fails to take good care of
their coffee plantation.
According to Uganda Coffee Federation, several cooperative
societies, coffee companies and groups already exist and have details of
their farmers, which the Government should use.
UCF, a non-profit company limited by guarantee with membership including
coffee exporters, coffee processors, farmers, companies that supply equipment
and supplies to coffee dealers were appearing before the Agriculture committee
chaired by Janet Okori-moe on the coffee bill.
Robert Byaruhanga, the Treasurer of the UCF notes that they
support the registration of farmers, but not in the way Government is proposing.
He says the different value chain actors in the industry can register coffee
farmers as they are already on the ground, well placed and organized.
Byaruhanga says this will not only be easier but could be welcomed because
these groups are already working with farmers and there is trust. He says with
over 4 million coffee farmers, only the existing value chain actors through the
affiliated groups can register ably the farmers.
//Cue in: “But we support…
Cue out:…four million households”//
Byaruhanga says that since 80 percent of the coffee business is
controlled by multinational , registration could help bring back the money to
Fred Mukasa, the Vice President UCF says that deregistering farmers who neglect
their coffee is not necessary as it conflicts with the road map of coffee. He
says Government should also guard against over-regulation.
Evelyn Chemutai, the Bukwo Woman MP said in the committee
that the proposed the law was silent on encouraging in more farmers to grow
coffee to meet the target 20 million bags.
//Cue in: “Bringing farmers or…
Cue out:…silent about that”//
According to UCDA, Uganda's Coffee exports in
March 2018 amounted to 333,346 60-kilo bags worth US$ 35.74
million. This comprised 224,036 bags worth US$ 21 million of Robusta and
109,310 bags worth US$ 13.88 million of Arabica coffee.