Parliament has passed the National Coffee Bill 2018, into law, rejecting the arrest of coffee farmers that neglect their coffee farms.
Clause 54 (d) of the Bill provided for arrest of coffee farmers for neglecting their coffee plantations. The MPs also rejected a clause on de-registration of the coffee farmers for neglecting their coffee farms.
Passed into law on Wednesday, the MPs however approved the registration of all coffee farmers and dealers for licensing before they can grow or deal in buying and selling of coffee.
According to the new law, the move to register and license farmers is to establish farmers’ data to know the number of farmers involved in coffee farming, to ensure comprehensive planning for coffee farmers by the government and traceability of coffee farmers in the country.
The new law repeals and replaces the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Ac1, Cap. 325, which was enacted in l99l 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.
The law provides for the Uganda Coffee Development Authority to regulate all on-farm and off – farm activities in the coffee value chain; to provide for a coffee auction system and to create and enhance the penalties.
The coffee Bill faced resistance from different stake holders such as the Buganda Kingdom, which argued that some provisions of the Bill especially one on registration of coffee farmers, would dampen farmer’s commitment towards reviving coffee production.