THE NATIONAL COFFEE BILL 2018
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The process for the revision of the coffee sub-sector law began in August 2013 when Cabinet approved the National Coffee Policy, 2013. A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) and consultative meetings were held and Cabinet approved the Principles for the revision of the Coffee Law in 2017.
On 23 November 2018, the National Coffee Bill was published in The Uganda Gazette. It was tabled for the First reading in Parliament on the 30 April 2019. The Bill is currently before the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for review.
What is the objective of the National Coffee Bill 2018?
The purpose of the National Coffee Bill 2018 is to reform the current law to provide for Uganda Coffee Development Authority to promote, oversee and regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities along the coffee value chain.
Is there any need to replace the current law?
Yes there is. The proposed Bill seeks to address new developments, advances and challenges that have emerged in:
- Coffee research and extension services
- Farmer organizations
- Climate change
The Uganda Coffee Development Authority Act, Cap. 325, enacted twenty-eight years ago, does not meet the current needs and long-term goals of Government.
How is the Bill proposing to deal with the gaps in the current law?
The National Coffee Bill proposes to address the gaps identified in the current law by:
- Defining the roles of different stakeholders in the coffee value chain, including the role of the Minister responsible for the coffee sub-sector.
- Comprehensively regulating the coffee value chain starting with the on-farm activities, which include generation of planting materials, soil management, irrigation, pest and disease management and harvesting to off-farm activities including drying, sorting, primary processing and tertiary processing.
- Introducing a voluntary coffee auction system to offer an alternative method of selling coffee. This should bring dynamism and efficiency in the sub-sector resulting from increased competition in the selling of coffee;
- Empowering UCDA to provide coffee extension services beyond agronomic practices;
- Constituting a national coffee farmers register. The Bill will empower UCDA to register all farmers engaged in coffee production to enhance planning, traceability and targeting of service delivery;
- Enhancing fees and penalties to encourage compliance. The statute did not have punitive clauses to penalize culprits that contravened aspects of the provisions making enforcement ineffective;
- Repealing redundant clauses overtaken by time.
How is this Bill different from the current law?
The current law:
- Only covers off-farm activities of marketing and processing, leaving on-farm activities like generating planting materials, harvesting, and post-harvesting handling (including drying of coffee) and coffee extension services outside the scope of the law. As a result, the sub-sector cannot perform to its maximum or expected capacity.
- Limits the roles of Uganda Coffee Development Authority and does not encompass the entire value chain. The Authority should regulate the on-farm and off-farm activities including seed gardens, nursery management, pests and disease control, rehabilitation, harvesting, drying, grading, tertiary processing and marketing.
- Has a number of redundant clauses that have been overtaken by time including the setting of minimum prices and putting in place a price committee. This is not sustainable in a liberal economy since Uganda Coffee Development Authority only publishes indicative prices.
The proposed law will:
- Provide for coffee research and development, which is vital to the improvement in production and productivity, quality and value addition, market development and intelligence and institutional development and accountability.
- Allow Uganda Coffee Development Authority to lead the implementation of coffee specific extension services by coordinating the efforts of different agencies and other stakeholders.
- Strengthen the fees and penalties in the current Act, which are weak and therefore need enhancement to make them deterrent to match the objectives of the regulatory framework.
Is the Bill seeking to license coffee farmers?
No. The Bill is not seeking to license coffee farmers. The Bill does however seek to register coffee farmers. Part IV of the Bill, clauses 26, 27 and 28, provides for registration of a coffee farmer, a national coffee register and deregistration. The Authority will use the information compiled to facilitate the provision of services to coffee farmers individually or through farmer groups. These services include:
- Extension services on:-
- Seed gardens and seed management
- Good Agricultural practices;
- Disease and pest management control
- Harvest and post-harvest handling
- Budgeting and planning for the services that are critical for coffee production and productivity
- Economic market trends: traceability/source of the product: the buyers/consumers want to know where the coffee they consume comes from, who produces it and what farming practices do they employ
What cost is the farmer likely to meet during this registration?
Registration will have no cost for the farmer. Registration of farmers shall be free as indicated under clause 27(4). UCDA or its representatives in liaison with other Government entities shall carry out this registration.
What will the smallholder farmers get out of this Bill?
All coffee farmers who are registered will benefit from the following:
- Provision of extension and other services
- Improved yields and good quality coffee resulting from a) above
- Protection from exploitation from unscrupulous sector players. All sector players will be licensed to ensure compliance in the industry.
- Mobilisation into farmer groups, cooperatives and/or associations.
What will the proposed Bill contribute to the economy?
Passing this Bill will deliver the following key contributions to the country:
- Expanded research at all value chain levels including better collaboration with the newly set up Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture;
- Increased production in line with the Coffee Roadmap to see production rise to 20 million 60kg bags by 2025 with the aim of reaching a target of 2,000kg per ha per annum;
- Potential to contribute 30-35% (UGX 7.8 million) of the national target of 24 million shillings per household per annum and achieve the middle income status by 2020;
- A contribution of 1.2 million job opportunities across the value chain by 2025;
- Increased volume and reduced cost as a result of bulk processing rather than individual processing;
- Increase in domestic per capita consumption from 0.36kg to 0.5kg by 2025. This will lead to a rise in domestic consumption from 260,000 60 kg bags to 296,400kg by 2025;
- Uganda is currently the 10th largest world coffee producer; 8th largest exporter in the world and 1st in Africa. Increasing coffee export brings in vital forex for Uganda to import much needed goods and services and create better terms of trade. Currently the average earning is US$ 500 million per year from coffee and has a potential to generate over US$ 2 billion;
- Enhanced capacity of UCDA to fully execute its mandate and broaden its decentralized network in all the coffee growing districts.
Parliament reconsidered and passed the Bill on March 18 2021 as returned by the President in accordance with Article 91(3)(b) of the Constitution and Rule 142 of the Rules of Procedure. It now awaits H. E the President to assent it into Law.