“There is no license I heard this Katikkiro was telling lies about that,…he should stop..”
His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni has disputed claims by individuals opposed to proposals in the National Coffee Bill saying that the bill has been misrepresented and those spreading lies should stop it.
In his speech delivered during a press briefing yesterday at State House Nakasero, the president took a swipe at the Katikkiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga for his criticism to the Coffee Bill and specifically the proposal relating to alleged licencing of coffee farmers.
The president said that the bill does not propose licencing coffee farmers but only registration of farmers. Museveni said the Katikkiro has been telling lies and he should stop it.
“There is no license. I heard this Katikkiro was telling lies about that, but i sent a message to somebody that he should stop that nonsense. What is happening is registering farmers. Registering is not licensing and the reason for registering is because of exporting.” the President said.
The Katikkiro of Buganda has often made his opinion on the coffee bill clear, expressing his discomfort with several provisions in the proposed law.
In his address to Buganda Kingdom Parliament (Lukiiko) on 15th july 2019, the Katikkiro expressed objection to the proposed registration of farmers and a two year jail sentence for farmers who neglect coffee plantations, labeling the proposals dangerous.
Mayiga says that the conditions are likely to suffocate the coffee industry, and the Kingdom’s drive to encourage coffee production under an initiative known as ‘Emwanyi Terimba.’
The proposed bill seeks to repeal the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Act, which mainly emphasizes off-farm activities of marketing and processing but leaving out on-farm activities such as planting materials, nursery beds, harvesting and post-harvest handling.
According to the Uganda Coffee Development Board, the proposed registration of coffee farmers is meant to eliminate middlemen and guarantee the development of the coffee sector in the country.
Coffee is the predominant cash crop in Buganda. Its production however dwindled in the 1990’s as new profitable crops such as vanilla were introduced.
The bill seeks to register names of coffee farmers and their details, the size and number of coffee trees, details of coffee buyers and sellers among others.
A coffee farmer who neglects his garden will be liable for a two year prison sentence if the proposed bill comes into law. The bill is currently before Parliament’s Agriculture Committee after being tabled by the Minister for Agriculture Vincent Ssempijja.