The Katiikiro of Buganda, Owek Charles Peter Mayiga said that it’s lawful for someone to present contradicting proposals against a bill.
Mayiga says Mengo’s ideas on the new Coffee Bill 2018 was not against the country’s plans but is intended to make Uganda a better place to live in, and for the good of the coffee farmers.
“If the contentious clauses are corrected, everything will be fine since it will enable peasants to continue with coffee farming and fight poverty,” Mayiga said.
Mayiga made the remarks on Tuesday 23 July 2019 in Buwekula County in Mubende District. He was addressing coffee farmers that end on his tour campaign of coffee farmers in Buganda region.
“If, say, a certain region produced low-quality coffee, it will be easy for the government to follow up on the producers there and the bill will enable the government to properly plan for the coffee sector. However, the same bill has bad clauses, for example, article 26 that requires all coffee farmers to be registered and article 56d where neglectful farmers will be imprisoned or fined,” Mayiga said.
In Mayiga’s point of view, the government should instead task extension workers than troubling the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) with testing and registration project.
“It’s will be hard for UCDA to register and test the soils before farmers’ plant coffee and that means if you had not registered or your soil was not tested, you will be an illegal coffee farmer. This is unrealistic,” Mayiga noted.
Ever since the Coffee Bill was tabled in April before parliament, it has been contested by many people that includes the National Coffee Research Institute and National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).
The Coffee Bill has clauses that require farmers to register their Coffee farms.
Clause 26 of the Bill states that coffee farmers will grow coffee after registration or rather present a proof that he/she intends to grow coffee within six months’ time period.
The clause further says that an evaluation on the land where a person intends to plant the coffee has to be done before coffee-growing commences, to make sure that the land is conducive for coffee plantation.
Clause 27 states that UCDA has to create national coffee farmers register with an electronic database housing all farmers’ particulars and be able to maintain it as well.
While Clause 28 gives UCDA authority to deregister a coffee farmer after learning that he/she failed to meet and follow the stated guidelines.
The new coffee bill 2018 is against the UCDA act, which permits off-farm activities such as marketing and processing and leaves out on-farm activities like materials, nursery beds, planting, harvesting and post-harvest handling.
Mayiga’s statement on the Coffee Bill 2018 followed president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s message when he said that Mayiga was telling lies to Ugandans as far as Coffee Bill 2018 is concerned.
President Museveni said Mayiga was only confusing Ugandans because the issue is not about licensing coffee farmers but rather registering them.
“I hear this Katiikiro was telling lies about licensing coffee farmers but I sent a message to somebody that you should stop that nonsense. There is no licensing. What is happening is registering and registering is not licensing,” Museveni said.