Former Finance Minister Gerald Sendaula, has appealed to Parliament to push for creation of a coffee regulatory authority as it considers the National Coffee Bill, 2018.
Ssendaula who is the chairperson of the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises said that the current body governing the coffee industry cannot ably carry out regulation because it’s the same entity handling the administration of coffee funds.
“Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) receives funds for seedlings and manages their distribution; so one cannot rule out chances of conflict of interest” said Ssendaula.
Sendawula who appeared before the Agriculture Committee added that government should be interested in a coffee regulatory authority if it is to attain the target of increasing coffee export to 20 million bags annually.
“We have aflatoxins and our farm management practices are not the best, if not regulated, achieving 20 million bags of coffee per year will be unrealistic” Ssendaula said adding that, ‘we will not make any difference with 20 million bags of substandard coffee and even finding a market will one time be hard’.
Hon Alum Santa (UPC, Oyam) said that invincible evidence will be required to push Parliament to support the creation of the proposed Uganda Coffee Regulatory Authority.
“It will be an uphill task to convince Parliament to accept this proposal; perhaps we could think of establishing a department to support UCDA in regulation” said Santa Alum.
Coffee growers under NUCAFE also asked Parliament to reject the proposal to increase tax levied on coffee exports.
UCDA has been charging one per cent on the price of all coffee exported from Uganda which Ssendaula says has caused importers to load the tax burden to farmers.
“Increasing tax to two per cent will discourage farmers from producing and adding value to coffee since they do not realise the benefits,” Ssendaula said.