A new bill that seeks to preserve the quality and boost coffee growing in the country is in the offing. Currently, coffee buying and selling is governed under the Coffee Regulation 1994 and Coffee Development Authority statute 1991.
According to the report, in June the country had exported a total of 266,337 kilogramme bags down from 285,945 kilogramme bags exported in May same year.
The UCDA report states: “Out of the total volume exported in June, the country earned $26.5 million (Shs90.1 billion) down from $27.6 million (Shs93.8 billion) value realised the previous month.”
Out of the June coffee total exports of 266,337 kilogramme bags, the country exported 201,381 kilogramme bags of Robusta and 64,955 of Arabica.
Farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged Shs2, 350 per kilo, Arabica parchment Shs5, 350 per kilo and Drugar Shs4, 500 per kilo.
Coffee exports for 12 months, which also marks end of the 2015/16 financial year (July 2015 to June 2016), summed to 3.56 million bags worth $352 million (Shs1.1 trillion)
Experts said that a favourable way to protect the country’s revenues from coffee and ensure the well-being of the farmers is to continue improving the overall quality of Ugandan coffee and making sure it is uplifted.
Mr Thomas Delbar, the commercial manager Kawacom, in an interview with had, said: “…that way, the country will be able to aim at better premiums for its coffee output and will absorb more easily any fluctuations in coffee prices.”
He added: “Drawbacks caused by weather, diseases, or other elements, should not alter the determination of those putting time and efforts into these measures supporting the sector directly at the source.”
Mr Delbar said when more coffee is planted and attended to with care from tree to port, it will mean less exposure to natural crop fluctuation cycles for all actors involved in the value-chain.
However, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister, Vincent Ssempijja, says the existing laws have failed to check the harvesting and selling of immature coffee.
He says as a result, the Ministry has drafted a bill to preserve the quality and boost coffee growing in the country.
He says the bill also seeks to enable Uganda to increase coffee exports from less than 4 million -60 kilograms to 20 million bags annually.
John Chrysostom Muyingo, the state minister for High Education says whereas government is currently donating coffee seedlings to farmers to boost coffee production, the efforts will go to waste unless the challenges of quality are addressed.
He appeals local leaders across the country to sensitize farmers against bad practices such as drying coffee on bare ground, which compromise quality. Lawrence Kasirye, the chairperson of Kalirokatono village explains that farmers engage in harvesting unripe coffee beans because of poverty and desire for quick money to solve family demands.
Livingstone Kategeya, a coffee farmer in Kamira Sub County is skeptical that the new bill will have any impact on the quality of coffee citing lack of enforcement and corruption. He says that even the available extension workers deployed at the sub county level are poorly facilitated, which affects their work.