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Coffee Bill has no single clause on licensing of coffee farmers- Minister Ssempijja

Agriculture Minister, Hon Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA- The Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has on Tuesday, July 23 clarified on misrepresented reports on the National Coffee Bill 2018.

According to the line minister in charge of coffee, the Bill under Part IV, clauses 26, 27 and 28 only seeks to register coffee farmers across the country and not license them.

“The Authority under these clauses will use information from the national coffee register to facilitate the provision of extension services to coffee farmers individually or through farmer groups,” he said in a statement.

He added that the registration of farmers will ease in the traceability of the coffee.

“The buyers and consumers want to know where the coffee they consume comes from, who produces it and what farming practices do they employ,” reads part of the statement.

He further noted that there is need for framers to register because it acts as a basis for planning and making appropriate estimates for the services that are critical for coffee production and productivity such as inputs, extension services, assessment and provision of farmers’ credit requirements.

Hon Ssempijja said that all coffee farmers who are registered will benefit in many ways including protection from exploitation from unscrupulous sector players by linking the farmers to the buyers directly, provision of extension and other services, Accessibility of inputs such as fertilizers, planting materials among others.

A coffee farmer shares a light moment in the fields (PHOTO/File)n

He revealed that there is no cost farmers are going to meet during the registration.

“Registration of all farmers shall be free as indicated under clause 27(4). UCDA or its representatives in liaison with other Government entities shall carry out this registration,” he said in a statement.

Who will be licensed under clause 35 of this bill?

  • A pulpery operator’s license
  • A coffee buyer license
  • A coffee grading license for internal marketing
  • A coffee processor’s license
  • A coffee exporter’s license
  • A coffee roasters license
  • Brewers and operator of a coffee shop operator’s license
  • A coffee store or warehouse operator’s license
  • A coffee huller operator’s license

“A person shall not operate a pulpery, buy coffee, grade coffee for internal marketing, roast coffee, brew and operate a coffee shop or coffee store, operate a warehouse or coffee huller or process or export coffee on a commercial basis without a license issued by the Authority,” reads the statement in part.

The minister said where the Authority refuses to issue a license to an applicant; the applicant shall be informed in writing stating the reasons for the refusal.

“This is, therefore, to show or prove that NO FARMER whatsoever will be licensed,” he said.

Traders in coffee on July 23, urged Government to come out and explain the intentions behind the registration of coffee farmers in a bid to save the National Coffee Bill 2019.

The plea was made by Moses Kiningwire, Trade and Purchasing Manager of Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited while appearing before the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee saying that although the players in the sector have welcomed government’s decision to register farmers as this will bring order in the sector, the Bill stands to lose out on its objectives.

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