18 June 2019

Uganda: Coffee Farmers Demand Shs100m for Supplies

More than 50 Coffee nursery farmers from Zombo and Nebbi districts have petitioned President Museveni, seeking to be paid Shs100m that accrued from the supply of seedlings last financial year under the government's operation wealth creation (OWC).

In a letter to President Museveni dated May 17, the coffee nursery farmers say the delayed payment for the seedlings they supplied during the planting season last year is contrary to the terms and conditions as stipulated in the purchase order (Form A) number three of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

The purchase order gives a time frame of three months within which payment should be made to suppliers after the end of the coffee planting season for verified seedlings delivered to the beneficiary farmers.

Speaking during a meeting at the weekend, Mr Gerald Omvor, the chairman of Nursery Operators for Zombo and Nebbi districts, said delayed payment is undermining the essence of wealth creation.

He said some members have not been paid for their supply for about six years, which has greatly affected their businesses and livelihoods.

"We kindly request the President to intervene to ensure we get paid as soon as possible. These farmers are supposed to pay school fees, medical bills and ensure that their businesses thrive. But this has made many of them to go into borrowing of loans which is even hard for them to repay," he said.

Mr Charles Okello, a coffee nursery operator from Erussi Sub-county in Nebbi District, said their colleagues from other parts of the country were paid but not them.

The UCDA regional coordinator for West Nile, Mr Sam Kermundu, said there was delay in disbursing funds to the affected coffee nursery operators, which he said was brought about by irregularities in the release of funds.

He said the delays and the arrears will be handled because this has not only affected nursery operators in Zombo and Nebbi but also those in the north and eastern.

Ms Rachel Obima, a nursery operator from Warr Sub-county, said: "This is business and the part payment must be rejected because we waited for too long and remember the financial year is getting to an end. This means our money may not be paid."

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