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Bugisu farmers oppose Coffee bill

FILE PHOTO: Bugisu coffee farmers

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Coffee farmers in Bugisu sub region have opposed the National Coffee Bill.

The bill, which is before parliament, seeks to provide for the registration and licensing coffee farmers across the country.

The bill also proposes that land, where the coffee is to be grown, shall be evaluated by Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA to determinate whether or not it is suitable for coffee growing.

The Bill wants, among other provisions, to reform and provide for the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) to regulate, promote and oversee the coffee sub-sector.

Through the 2018 coffee bill, the government seeks to register and license coffee farmers. The bill also proposes that land, where the coffee is to be grown, shall be evaluated by the coffee development authority and deemed to be suitable or not for coffee growing.

If the bill is enacted into a law, in cases where the landowner is different from the coffee grower, the landowner and details shall be registered. The bill also proposes that the size and number of coffee trees, names and details of the farmers, coffee buyers and sellers among others are registered.

Appearing before the parliamentary committee on Agriculture during consultations of stakeholders on the bill on Tuesday, farmers from Sironko and Bududa districts rejected the idea of individual registration and said that this can be done through their cooperative societies.

Michael Nadenge, a farmer from Sironko says that government is only rushing to register farmers and yet it has not helped them to address the changing prices of coffee.

He said the coffee farmers are struggling with low prices of coffee yet they invest a lot of money in the business.

Patrick Meru, a Farmer from Bubita sub-county in Budada district said government should put more emphasis on reviving cooperative societies and farmers, where they can be registered.

He said this will help in regulating and ensuring good quality of coffee produced that will see a robust growth in the economy.

Edward Wanakina, a farmer from Bududa district says that people are fearing registration because of the unpredictable taxes which are likely to inconvenience the farmers.

Raymond Kitutu Moses another farmer noted that registration is proper will help the government to audit and plan for the farmers.

He, however, expressed fear in middlemen who have powers to determine the prices of coffee which he wants government to regulate.

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