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We must revive coffee industry in Buganda

By Kavuma-Kaggwa

No country in the world has transformed its economy without investing in its local people

President Yoweri Museveni has launched a Master Plan for Uganda’s Economic Development ahead of the 2016 General Elections. This is a US$200 billion development master plan called Uganda Vision 2040.

It is strongly envisaged that by the year 2040 – that is 30 years from now – we shall have achieved a high-tech ICT city and associated infrastructure. We shall have built five regional cities. We shall have built Science and technology parks in each regional city. We shall have an oil refinery with associated pipeline.

It is also envisaged that by the year 2040 we shall have trained local manpower with globally competitive skills. We shall have a standard gauge railway system that is a high speed railway system.

We shall have built a phosphate industry in Tororo; Eastern Uganda, for fertiliser in-puts. We shall have built large irrigation schemes for agricultural farms.

We shall have built a nuclear and several hydro-power stations and we shall have turned Uganda into a centre of excellence in education on top of what we are now.

We shall have constructed modern multi-lane and paved road network linking major towns.

Today I am writing as a self-appointed Presidential adviser not on political but on economic affairs.

I have full confidence in the economic future of this country.

This Economic Plan, Vision 2040 is a brilliant idea. It is not for President Yoweri Museveni, it is for the people of Uganda because even if he goes into retirement in the near future, those who will succeed him should be able to carry it out to a successful end.

This kind of economic plan was what the Germans and Japanese adopted to develop their countries after the Second World War which ended in 1945. The war terribly devastated both Germany and Japan.

Germany was divided into two – The Communist East Germany and the Capitalist Western backed West Germany under the leadership of Chancellor (Prime Minister) Konrad Adenauer from 1949 to 1963.

Chancellor Adenauer’s plans to develop Germany were backed up by the European Recovery Programme commonly called the `Marshall Plan’ which was funded by America and used the Bank of America to rehabilitate European countries after the Second World War.

George Catlett Marshall Jr. was the U.S. Secretary of State immediately after the Second World War and he worked out plans to rehabilitate Germany, other European countries and Japan.

In Uganda’s case, launching Vision 2040 now gives our country a sense of direction economically and politically.

I would like to advise President Museveni that we must build an economy which is controlled by the indigenous people of Uganda. There is no country in the world which has transformed its economy without investing in its local people.

Now it is very important that by transforming the economy of this country, we must by all means, revive the coffee industry in Buganda.

The Baganda who had built a strong economic base because of growing coffee, are now suffering economically and are at the same time living in abject poverty because of the coffee wilt virus which destroyed their coffee and banana plants in 1987/88.

It is well remembered that at the time of independence in 1962 and right up to the 1970s and early 1980s, Uganda’s economy, as well as foreign exchange earnings, were based on coffee and the biggest and strongest coffee growing area was Buganda.

The current situation whereby the Baganda are no longer producing coffee on a large scale has completely broken their economic backbone. This situation cannot be tolerated any more.

President Museveni, together with the Baganda must come out with a broad and aggressive plan to revive the coffee industry in Buganda. How will this be successfully done? First and foremost, the government should bring in coffee experts from Kenya and Brazil to eradicate the virus which destroyed the coffee and banana plants in Buganda.

When the coffee virus is eradicated we shall take back the people to their villages under a programme called “Back to the Land Policy”. The people will grow coffee on their “bibanja” and on their mailo land and the Kabaka’s government can be assisted to establish Buganda State Farms to grow different cash crops.

Our economic policy will be 80% agriculture and 20% industrialisation. We shall revert back to “mixed economy system” whereby the government will transact business as well as the citizens.

The Uganda Coffee Marketing Board will be revived under an Act of Parliament and the Coffee Processing Plant at Bugolobi will be revived. Modern coffee processing and grading machines will be installed at Bugolobi Coffee Plant. Coffee silos will be built in strategic places where coffee will be safely stored. Cooperative Societies will be revived and will also process coffee as it was before.

Where shall we sell that coffee? All countries trading with Uganda will have to make new trading agreements with Uganda and each country will have to buy 70% of Uganda coffee every year. The countries I am talking about are: Japan, China, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA, Germany, France, Russia, Sweden, Italy, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Australia, Canada and Egypt.

All the countries I have mentioned which are trading with Uganda do not grow coffee. Therefore, they are a good market for us.

I would like to point out here that Uganda’s ambassadors accredited to all those countries will have to work hard to solidify the market for Uganda’s coffee. The President’s foreign visits will touch very much on the selling of Uganda coffee abroad.

Finally I would like to request the President Museveni to give all the powers and policies of developing Agriculture in this country to the Ministry of Agriculture instead of NAADS which has been a complete failure since it was established.

The information I have for the young generation is that this country was built to the level where it is today because of coffee and cotton. Therefore, the coffee industry must be revived under all circumstances.

We should build an economy which caters for the masses instead of the “middle class”. The masses are the strength of Uganda the nation and they are the ones who vote.

With this plan we shall be able to enrich the black people of Uganda through agriculture where they will have full ownership and control instead of making them labourers in foreign-owned factories and industries where they will be paid Shs3,000 per day and at the end of the month much of it is deducted for so many reasons.

J.M KAVUMA-KAGGWA is an elder from Kyaggwe, Mukono District

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