Uganda Coffee Development Authority and the Registered Trustees of Hoima Catholic Diocese have entered a partnership to promote coffee growing in the area. The Registered Trustees of Hoima Diocese is an association established by the diocese as her official socio-economic development arm. It is a non-political body with a mission to express God’s love for mankind by continuing Christ’s work and enabling each person to have life in abundance through programmes that meet the people’s needs.
Hoima Caritas Development Organization (HOCADEO) is the official socio-economic development arm of Hoima diocese. For more than 30 years, it has been involved in supporting rural communities in the region with integrated development programmes focusing on agricultural development for food security and income improvement. These range from farmer training, extension services, agro-input supply, marketing, infrastructure development, farmer institutional capacity development, value addition and sustainable organic farming practices among others. Besides the ongoing discovery and exploration of oil and gas in the Albertine region, Hoima diocese has initiated programs aimed at enhancing food security through diversification of enterprises for increased income within the diocese.
It is against this background that HOCADEO organized a Diocesan meeting on 24th October 2018 to brain storm on ways of generating local funding for the needs of the churches in the Diocese, and in particular formulate cardinal strategies for self-reliance for both the Diocese and her people through establishment, development and support from donors, Government and her agencies on viable and sustainable agribusiness enterprises. The meeting was organized by Rev. Father Joseph Birungi, the Executive Director of HOCADEO, with assistance from the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator Rev. Fr. Robert Mugisha.
The meeting was attended by the Right Rev. Bishop Vicent Kirabo, all the Diocesan Heads of Departments, Sisters of Superiors, Parish Priests, diocesan finance council and chairpersons of parish councils. UCDA MD, Dr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, also attended with three staff namely the RCEO Masindi, Wickliffe Katulinde, the host RCEO Jackson Bagonza and the Regional Manager of the Rwenzori region, Mike Maliro.
The guest speakers were Tonny Okau, Stanbic Bank’s Manager Business Enterprise Development, and Dr Iyamulemye. Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development was the guest of Honour.
The Managing Director UCDA stressed the need for the leadership of the diocese to mobilise families to increase incomes through coffee planting. He further said that by 2050, there shall be a shortfall of 50 million bags and the focus is on Africa to meet that gap. He emphasized the need to look at coffee as a business and a farmer’s bank through value addition at production and market stages. Farmers therefore need to form groups and cooperatives.
The MD further pledged that UCDA is ready to support the diocese to train youth in coffee production. In his concluding remarks, Dr Iyamulemye thanked the Diocese for organizing and convening such a developmental forum that strategizes to combat household poverty. He said the church is a centre of community and family development and it has a role to play in educating the people on the profitable enterprises that can lead them to have a better living. He informed the meeting that UCDA and Uganda Tourism Board will host experts in December this year to discuss coffee as a tourism commodity.
The meeting culminated with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UCDA and Hoima diocese to facilitate coffee planting to generate income to support the diocese’s short term needs. The MoU was signed by the MD, Dr Iyamulemye, Father Birungi, the UCDA Board Secretary/Director of Corporate Services (see photo) as well as the Rt Rev Bishop Vicent Kirabo.