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Gov’t To Purchase Coffee Seedlings On Credit

Cabinet has agreed to purchase coffee seedlings from farmers on credit and pay farmers later, after initially scaling back on the purchase due to lack of funds.

The revelation was made by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa during the plenary sitting, where he asked Government to expedite the process of supplying coffee seedlings in order to take advantage of the rainy season.

The Deputy Speaker’s caution followed a complaint was in response to a concern raised by Lutamaguzi Ssemakula (Nakaseke South) who asked, “We are in the middle of the planting season. The suppliers almost have 8million coffee seedlings but UCDA is very silent, you are my fellow farmer and it is better to give us guidance.”

Deputy Speaker informed Parliament that he had a discussion with the Minister of Agriculture who told informed him that the President and Cabinet had resolved that nursery bed operators can distribute the seedlings and be paid later but he was awaiting for a letter from Ministry of Finance authorising him to commit government.

“I called the Minister of Finance, he is also following up on the same and the Minister of Finance had told me he had written to cabinet secretary to get an extract of the cabinet meeting which he would base on to write to the Minister of Agriculture which he would base on. Rain isn’t waiting for us, we can dilly dally and go into democracy but nature isn’t waiting for us,” said Tayebwa.

Earlier this month, a group of Coffee Nursery operators across the country revealed that they were stuck with over 100 million seedlings worth Shs71Bn and asked Government to allow them to distribute the overgrown seedlings to coffee farmers and have their money paid later.

The operators argued that their plight had been worsened by the failure by the Ministry of Finance to release the Shs18Bn that had been allocated for the purchase seedlings this financial year.

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