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The coffee growers of 1967 to 1980 really benefited from the cash crop

Picking coffee. PHOTO

COMMENT | NTUUYO |  I have read Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s comments about coffee at his coronation anniversary in July, and what should be done, and I respect his opinions. I will share what I observed while growing up.

By 1967, I was a Primary 3 pupil. I attended a school located about 56km from Kampala on the way to Gulu. During that time, starting 1968, I witnessed the construction of tarmac beyond Wobulenzi to Gulu by the Sterling company from Italy. I still consider it the best road ever built in the country.

The population grew coffee and sold it at a known price. Every year, the budget reading was listened to by all on radio and these prices were official.

While attending secondary school, I often assisted my relative the, a secretary manager of the local cooperative union, under the East Mengo Growers Cooperative Union.

On delivery of coffee at the Cooperatives, members had the number of kilogram per bag recorded, and had paid cash after several calculations, I will explain briefly.

The total I now call “A”, and at some point the “Bonus” ( equivalent to profit) was calculated. This Bonus “b” for every farmer “f” was calculated as a proportion of  kgs by farmer “f” =”A” over the total kgs bought by the society “S” multiplied by the amount “B”available to the Society “s”.

So the amount of Bonus “b” for every farmer was then transferred to a book “X”. In that book “X” was a record of all items obtained by farmer “f” on credit: these included Pumps (knapsac), hoes, sickles, spades, wheel barrows, pangas plus fertilisers, herbcides.  The sum “y” of cost of the respective inputs “i” obtained earlier.

So the farmer “f” received “w”…. “w” being ( “b” minus “y”).

This money used to cater for several activities at home stead level. Indeed in the 1970’s a rich man was respected because his source of income was known. I saw changes in several homes and houses over time. Many got new dresses for Easter and Christmas, thanks to coffee and cotton.

The vehicles being driven by many were as a result of coffee growing ( “mwanyi zabala”). Some parents did not pay fees because of individual perceptions.

So I can argue that the coffee growers of 1967 to 1980 were benefiting from coffee growing. If the managers had any mischief, I have no idea, but the community was able to meet needs ( Maslow’s pyramid)

So much for the memory of the cohort of that time, the truth sets us free ( some of us miss it!)

I can understand the hidden motive about land, but majority of people owning land have paid for it. Please conduct a well designed study to prove the last claim.

*****

This is a comment adapted from the website. Writer is on najjukafc@gmail.com 

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