- L-R: Ministers Bright Rwamirama, Fred K. Bwino, Frank Tumwebaze and MAAIF PS Kasura listening to the concerns of private sector players in the coffee sub-sector
Private sector palyers in the coffee sub-sector say they are not against the recently assented to National Coffee Act, 2021.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting on the National Coffee Act and the progress on the implementation of the Coffee Roadmap on Wednesday morning at the Skyz Hotel, Naguru, Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, the President of Uganda Coffee Federation and Second Deputy Katikkiro/Minister of Finance in the Buganda Kingdom, said that more than anyone, the private sector needs the coffee sector regulated.
“We are not against this law. We have invested a lot of money and we want a regulated and organized industry. So, we want the regulation,” Waggwa said, adding: “We would want a comprehensive regulation.”
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, the meeting with the private sector was aimed at listening to concerns of key players in the coffee value chain.
One of the issues that emerged during the discussion was the roadmap, with Waggwa Nsibirwa saying the private sector was not being updated on the progress of the roadmap and as such, they need a forum to be heard.
“The evaluation of the roadmap implementation. What is working? What is not working? What should we take out? What should we keep? And we felt that as a private sector we had not heard that update because we have not had a forum. We have not heard reports on how the roadmap is performing. Is it working, yes we see some areas are working. Are they all working, in our view some are not, some are working,” Waggwa said.
He said the private sector wants evaluation on the implementation on the roadmap made every year.
The other concern was the issue of the merger (returning Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) to MAAIF.
According to Waggwa, a coffee sector bringing in foreign exchange in trillions deserves to be under a unique entity.
“If there are aspects of UCDA that are not functional, see that they are addressed. This is an institution democratically and efficiently involved in fighting poverty,” Waggwa said.
The private sector also raised concern on Uganda’s reported exit from the International Coffee Organization (ICO)
However, Tumwebaze clarified that Uganda is not exiting the ICO but rather negotiating certain positions for the benefit of the country.
Responding to the issue of regulation, Tumwebaze said: “I am not against regulation. I am for regulation that builds.”
The National Coffee Act was assented to by the President Yoweri Museveni on August 31, 2021 and commenced on September 13, 2021.
In an exclusive interview with UCDA Managing Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye, said what UCDA has been doing for years has now been regularized. “There is nothing new. It is now that everything is regularized. For example, we are doing certification of nurseries. That was not in the old law. We are also registering farmers when we are giving them seedlings. That was not in the law. So, everything has now been regularized.”
He added that they are “mobilizing farmers and sensitizing stakeholders to know the law. The law is for development.”
“The Coffee Roadmap is not just 20m bags. It is income for our people. This is critical because overall, we want to see increased income for Ugandan coffee farmers and those who rely on coffee for a livelihood. The true north is households with improved livelihoods,” Iyamulemye said.
Maj. Gen. Kasura Kyomukama, the Permanent Secretary, MAAIF pledged total support to the Private Sector, noting that their concerns will be addressed.