Cocoa farmers from Bundibugyo district have petitioned Parliament protesting a new tax imposed on unprocessed cocoa by the district local government.
The petitioners envisage that the new tax will affect the production of cocoa countrywide.
The petition was presented by the Bwamba County Member of Parliament, Hon. Richard Muhumuza Gafabusa, during the plenary sitting chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, on Thursday, 4 April 2019.
The farmers said that the tax was illegal especially following the removal of taxes on produce tax.
“Unprocessed agricultural produce was exempted from taxation as listed in the second schedule of the Value Added Tax; we request government to intervene and stop this irregular and illegal charges on trade in cocoa,” he said.
Gafabusa added that the farmers are already paying taxes that are charged both locally and nationally and these are borne by companies and traders with cocoa.
The farmers, he said, are also affected by a disease that attacks the cocoa trees.
“The cocoa crop for the past three years has been attacked by a disease that has reduced production from three kilogrammes to one kilogramme per tree. Imposing this tax will definitely affect not only the livelihoods of the farmers, but the entire cocoa sector,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker referred the petition to the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development.