Museveni Returns Coffee Bill to Parliament

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declined to assent to the National Coffee Bill and asked parliament to review several provisions in the proposed law.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said, in her communication on Tuesday, that the President wants parliament to review clause 14 of the Bill regarding the appointment of the Board of Uganda Coffee Development Authority, the appointment of the board chairperson and director of the authority.

The president also wants parliament to review clause 26 on the registration of coffee farmers and the issuance of a certificate of registration for coffee nursery operators. Kadaga directed the Minister of Agriculture Vincent Ssempijja to re-table the Bill for review by the relevant committee.

The National Coffee Bill was passed by Parliament in August 2020 to provide for the registration of coffee farmers by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA). The registration of farmers was proposed to entail capturing details of the size of land, number of coffee trees, particulars of a farmer, coffee buyers, sellers and nursery bed operators.

The Bill repeals the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Act, 1991 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.

According to the Bill, registration of farmers was proposed to be free and each registered farmer would be given an identification number. 

The Bill also provides that for a person to be registered, “he or she shall either be growing coffee at the time of registration or shall have proof of his or her intention to commence growing coffee within a period of six months, from the date of registration.”

In the Bill returned by the President, Parliament rejected a clause to de-register coffee farmers who fail to meet standards set by Government. Also rejected was a two-year jail term for a farmer who fails to take good care of their coffee plantation was also rejected by members.