Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament today unanimously rejected the proposal to deregister coffee farmers who fail to meet standards set by Government in regards to coffee growing.
Parliament has been discussing the National Coffee Bill 2018 that among other things seeks to register all coffee farmers, and deregister farmers who fail to meet the standards and quality of coffee.
The Bill also proposes the registration of farmers, capturing details of the size of land, the number of coffee trees and particulars of the farmers, coffee buyers and sellers among others.
Several MPs however rejected the proposal to deregister a farmer who does not meet the standards. The MPs say that Government cannot dictate the planting of coffee by individuals who have been doing it on their own, but also have been surviving on it.
Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko says Government should not deregister farmers, but farmers who fail to supply coffee or grow it by themselves will fall off automatically.
Jovah Kamateeka, the Woman MP Mitooma says farmers have been struggling on their own and it is not time for Government to deregister them and yet the same Government has failed to do its part.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga questioned if Government intends to provide the farmers with the adequate logistics like seeds and equipment to ensure they produce quality products.
She questioned why Government should deregister private farmers and yet these are not Government farms. She questioned why Government should control the firms.
Flavia Byekwaso, the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) Representative said that Uganda is full of fake products and farmers have suffered even after procuring pesticides. She says the Ministry of Agriculture should put their house in order before victimizing farmers.
The Minister for Agriculture Bright Rwamirama said that removing deregistration from the Bill has watered down the whole Bill as they are trying to address the issue of quality because farmers have been failing to meet international standards.
Agriculture State Minister Aggrey Bagiire’s proposal to have the clause on deregistering the farmers redrafted fell on deaf ears as Parliament deleted the clause.
The MPs also opposed the proposal that land, where the coffee is to be grown shall be evaluated by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority- UCDA to determine whether or not it is suitable for coffee growing.
The 2-year jail term for a farmer who fails to take good care of their coffee plantation proposal was also deleted by MPs.