Uganda: Mayiga Should Stop Talk About Coffee Bill - Museveni

Kampala — President Museveni has warned the Katikkiro of Buganda, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, to stop what he called "lies" on the National Coffee Bill, 2018, that seeks to register and regulate coffee farmers for quality control before exportation.

President Museveni sounded the warning during a press conference at Nakasero State Lodge on Thursday night where he was addressing the nation on the government plan to improve household income.

"He should stop that nonsense. He should stop. There is no licensing of the farmers. What is happening is registration of the farmers and the reason for registering [them] is for quality control. There is what we call traceability. Otherwise, if you don't have traceability, your coffee may not be bought," Mr Museveni said.

Last week, Mr Mayiga said the Bill was brought in bad faith, warning that it should be handled with care.

"I am scared. This issue should be handled with care and we shall continue to offer guidance. I guess from coffee farmers, the government will now legislate (on) herdsmen and how they should or shouldn't handle their cattle and other products." Mr Mayiga said.

Mr Mayiga and Mr Vicent Ssempijja, the minister of Agriculture, have since met and sources say, agreed that coffee farmers be sensitised about the Bill.

The Buganda Kingdom spokesperson, Mr Noah Kiyimba, yesterday said the Katikkiro and minister had agreed during the Wednesday meeting that coffee farmers be first sensitised on the Bill.

"We are not against the Bill. What we need is to sensitise the people. The kingdom is going to submit its proposals on the Bill," he said.

The government tabled the Bill before Parliament in April for the first reading, before it was referred to the House's Committee on Agriculture for scrutiny. It seeks to repeal and replace the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Act 1994 and provides for the registration of coffee farmers, coffee nursery operators, coffee farmer organisations and cooperatives and coffee value chain actors.

But politicians and opinion leaders have criticised the Bill, saying it is intended to restrict the growing of coffee in Uganda.

During the press conference, Mr Museveni said homesteads can improve their incomes through the four sectors of agriculture, services, ICT and industries.

He said small land owners can practice farming by venturing into projects like fruit farming, piggery, zero grazing for cows and fish farming.

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