KAMPALA – Parliament has passed the National Coffee Bill, 2018 that provides for registration of coffee farmers by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).
The registration of farmers will entail capturing details of the size of land, number of coffee trees, particulars of a farmer, coffee buyers, sellers and nursery bed operators.
Parliament however rejected a clause to de-register coffee farmers who fail to meet standards set by Government. In addition, a two year jail term for a farmer who fails to take good care of their coffee plantation was also rejected by members.
The National Coffee Bill, 2018 was passed by Parliament sitting on Wednesday 5 August 2020. The Bill repeals and replaces the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Act, Cap. 325, which was enacted in 1991 and only covered off-farm activities of marketing and processing, leaving on-farm activities like planting materials, nurseries, harvesting and post harvesting handling outside the scope of the law.
According to the Bill, registration of farmers will be free and each registered farmer will be given an identification number.
The Bill provides that for a person to be registered, “he or she shall either be growing coffee at the time of registration or shall have proof of his or her intention to commence growing coffee within a period of six months, from the date of registration.”
MPs also opposed the proposal to have UCDA evaluate land where coffee is to be grown to determine whether or not it is suitable for coffee growing.
The Bill aims at reforming the law to provide for Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) to regulate, promote and oversee the coffee sub-sector and to regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the coffee value chain.
The Bill will help in comprehensive planning for coffee farmers when it comes to linking buyers and farmers, setting up irrigation systems, provision of planting materials and extension services.