Uganda passes National Coffee Bill, reveals record exports

The Ugandan Parliament has passed the National Coffee Bill, 2018, which provides for registration of coffee farmers by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

It says the registration of farmers will enable the government to capture details of the size of land, number of coffee trees, and particulars of farmers, coffee buyers, sellers, and nursery bed operators.

The National Coffee Bill, 2018 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. For a person to be registered, the bill states “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”.

Parliament rejected a clause to de-register coffee farmers who fail to meet standards set by the 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.

Members of Parliament 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 to reform the law so the UCDA can regulate, promote, and oversee the coffee sub-sector and to regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the coffee value chain.

The government says 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.

According to June 2020 coffee export figures, Uganda’s coffee export performance in financial year (FY) 2019/20 set an all-time new record of 5.06 million 60-kilogram bags, an increase of 84 per cent over the first decade of Vision 2040.

Export earnings also reached an all-time new level of US$494 million, representing an increase of 88 per cent over the same period. Year-on-year performance for coffee export volume and value registered an increase of 21 and 18 per cent respectively, between FY2018/19 and FY2019/20.

According to UCDA figures, Uganda’s coffee production doubled from 3.5 million bags in FY2014/15 to seven million bags in FY2018/19.

Depending on how production figures for FY2019/20 turnout, Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development says 2020 could see the country, which is already Africa’s largest coffee exporter, overtake Ethiopia as Africa’s largest coffee producer.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend