By Hannah Marion Namukasa
Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta T. Museveni on the 13th, August, 2021 assented to the controversial National coffee Act, 2021 which has now replaced the Uganda Coffee Development Authority act. Cap. 325 which was enacted 29 years ago.
The controversy about the assented to act emanated last year after Buganda kingdom, some scientists at the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), The Coffee Research Institutes among others rejected some of the sections of the act especially regarding registration of all coffee farmers across the country.
They asserted that bill disadvantages small scale farmers since it looks at a small scale farmer as the one who at least has 50 trees yet there farmers with five trees. They also asserted that the law serves the interests of farmers over the impoverished farmers.
In the assented to National Coffee Act, that was sent to the Chief Justice, The Agriculture minister, the first Parliamentary counsel and ministry of justices and constitutional affairs on the 2, September, 2021 by the clerk to parliament Hon. Adolf Mwesigye, it entails the following below:
Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) will regulate all on and off farm activities in coffee value chain, all coffee farmers to register with UCDA at no cost and be issued with an identification number, Licensing for all people involved in trading coffee, registration will entail capturing farmer details, land size, number of coffee trees, coffee buyers, sellers. A person shall not operate a pulpery, buy coffee, grade coffee for internal marketing, roast coffee, brew and operate a coffee shop, store, ware house or coffee huller, process or export coffee on commercial basis without UCDA license.
All coffee nursery beds operators to be licensed. 2% levy on coffee exports will be payable to UCDA and the minister will appoint UCDA Board with cabinet approval.
Some of the set penalties include among others: de-registering farmers who fail to meet standards set by government and Two year jail term for a farmer who fails to take good care of their coffee plantation.