Appearing before the Agriculture Committee chaired by Janet Okori-moe Akech this morning, the Director of Research in the National Coffee Research Institute, Dr. Geoffrey Arinaitwe, said registering farmers is complicated. He explained that registration of farmers can’t work especially for small holder ones.
A man picking coffee beans
The National Coffee Research Institute-NaCORI
has rejected the proposed registration and licensing of coffee farmers, saying
it will disadvantage farmers and cripple the industry. The proposals are
contained in the National Coffee bill 2018, which is before parliament.
The bill 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 to determine whether or not it is suitable for
The bill proposes a 2-year jail term if a
farmer fails to take good care of their coffee plantation. According to the UCDA
board the proposed registration of the farmers is meant to eliminate middlemen
and ensure development of the coffee sector in the country.
Appearing before the Agriculture Committee chaired by Janet Okori-moe Akech this morning, the Director of
Research in the National Coffee Research Institute, Dr.
Geoffrey Arinaitwe, said registering farmers is complicated. He explained
that registration of farmers can’t work especially for small holder ones.
He says the bill shouldn’t be seen to
discourage farmers as they will end up opting for other crops such as sugar
cane and potatoes and abandon coffee. Arinaitwe rather supported the idea of
supporting cooperative societies that can work with farmers.
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NaCORI however proposes the zoning of the coffee industry so
that the uniqueness of the coffee from different areas is preserved.
to Arinaitwe, the coffee grown in North West Uganda, Western Uganda, Central
and Eastern is so different because of the weather, arguing that supporting
coffee producers at that level will grow the industry.
Arinaitwe said this is better compared to the proposal to
evaluate the soil before one is allowed to plant coffee.
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Arinaitwe says registering farmers will affect the country’s
target of exporting 20 million bags of coffee by 2022. The Kabweri County MP, Barnabas Gonahasa, says
the new proposal to register people farming will kill the industry.
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.