The Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom Charles Peter Mayiga has condemned the central government’s decision to sign a coffee agreement with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited (UVVCCL), a privately-owned firm, to process and export Uganda’s coffee without consulting the key stakeholders.
In February this year, Finance minister Matia Kasaijja signed the deal on behalf of the government while Enrica Pinetti signed on behalf of UVCCL, a deal that would see the European company preferential treatment in the coffee sector.
The incentives include “taking all reasonable measures to give priority of supply of coffee to the company” before allowing any export of coffee beans.
Also, the company undertakes that it will pay for the priority “quality coffee beans at a premium price to be determined by the company,” but in any case the price determined will not be lower than the price determined by a relevant authority, whichever is lower.
The agreement generated controversy as Uganda National Farmers Federation UNFF said this is creating a monopoly and will make it hard for local companies to develop unless they are given similar or better offers.
The line cabinet minister of Agriculture and Key UNFF personality, Frank Tumwebaze, distanced himself and the ministry from the deal, saying he knew nothing about it.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ramathan Ggoobi has defended the deal saying that the company will buy the coffee at a premium price, the first pricing system in Uganda.
However Mayiga said the government move must to include the stakeholders.
Mayiga also said that the government must also recognize the role of the Buganda Kingdom in coffee development and as a key stakeholder in the development of Coffee and the government should seek to advise from them before signing any agreement.
Mayiga however encouraged people not to lose hope because of the new deal and encouraged them to continue growing coffee.
He also asked Archbishop Paul Ssemwogerere to encourage priests to embrace coffee growing.
He also encouraged people to start consuming coffee to increase the local demand which will balance the interest of foreign companies.
In 2016 Mayiga under the Kingdom of Buganda inaugurated a campaign dubbed “Emwanyi Terimba”. Mayiga engaged the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and formed a partnership in an attempt to boost coffee growth in Buganda Region.
The UCDA was to provide seedlings and partner with the kingdom’s Buganda Cultural and Development Foundation (BUCADEF) to provide technical knowledge on the new development while Mayiga was supposed to ensure people embrace growing coffee again.
Mayiga revealed that people have embraced the campaign, and coffee growth has increased by 35%.
He also revealed that the Buganda region contributed 30% of the coffee exported from Uganda.
Meanwhile, Paul Ssemwogerere, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala called upon the Christians to live the message of resurrection by promoting peace and love.
He also paid tribute to the fallen speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanya who was buried last week: “I would like to condole with the government and the family especially the father of the deceased Jacob Oulanya, Mister Nathan L’Okori for the loss of their dear one, may the almighty God grant him eternal peace!” said the archbishop.