Coffee farmers protest at parliament

While at parliament, the group threatened to destroy their coffee nursery beds if the government did not allow them to supply the seedlings to farmers on credit.

By Fahim Muyingo

Coffee farmers together with nursery bed operators Tuesday afternoon stormed parliament under their umbrella body Devoted Coffee Farmers Initiative demonstrating the government’s delay to supply coffee across the country.

While at parliament, the group threatened to destroy their coffee nursery beds if the government did not allow them to supply the seedlings to farmers on credit.

The farmers led by the chairman Matia Tumwebaze are ready to meet the speaker of parliament Anita Annet Among concerning the same matter.

The group also claimed to have been certified by Uganda Coffee Development Authority to supply seedlings to farmers as beneficiaries of the parish development model program.

However, they have not been able to supply the seeds to farmers since the year began; this caused them to lose over Shs500bn.

The process of distribution of these seedlings which was slated to start in March this year was temporarily halted by the government following the launch of the Parish Development Model.

Nevertheless, the group claimed that the government didn’t consult them or pass any communication while making the changes.

In their petition to the speaker last month, coffee farmers and nursery bed operators had requested to be allowed to supply seedlings to the ready farmers to save them from losses and wastage.

The petition from Devoted Coffee Farmers Initiative Uganda was presented by Sheema District woman legislator Rosemary Nyakikongolo and Mwenge North’s David Muhumuza.

Although the ministry of finance and that of agriculture were supposed to respond on this matter in parliament, no communication has since been received in that regard.

The farmers and coffee nursery bed operators want the government to allow them to distribute their seedlings on credit for at least this season to save them from losses.

They anticipate a loss of over 500bn from the overgrown seedlings and accumulated bank loans acquired as capital for the establishment of the nursery beds.

Since 2015, the farmers were getting the support of seeds and seedlings from Uganda Coffee Development Authority for distribution of seedlings to farmers across the country, a move which was temporarily halted following the abrupt launch of PDM.

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