It is hard to see any significant change of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, as the law of 1994 is planned to be repealed, as the Cabinet accepted a new bill yesterday at the State House. Let me explain, It would seem more reasonable, if someone leaked the text of the law, but the short tide bottlenecks of information leaked. That information is showing, that it is more of the same. Just some new buzz-words, to keep the donors buzzing.
Since the UCDA are already in charge of monitoring, pricing and promoting coffee, both internally and externally. They are supposed to help raise the quality of the coffee and educate farmers, both in production of better coffee, but also raise the yields for the cash-crop. The UCDA is rally a state organized body in both education, trade and promoting of coffee. Where all parts of the transaction from the seedlings to the trade of the ready beans has been in connection with the government body.
That is why the Cabinet decision that is released to the public, the one page dossier, as the law and the new provisions aren’t out, but if these footnotes are the realization of the changes from 1994 to become the new law in 2018. There are really just putting in the word sustainable and harmonize the roles of all the roles. Which is fancy lingo, for making sure everyone along the line is taxed and made sure they pay for the government services. Since they are already having the mandate by the law of 1994.
As sub-section 4 in the UCDA Act of 1994 states:
“The functions of the authority shall be— to issue certificates in respect of the grade and quantity of coffee; to register in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister, from time to time, on the advice of the board, all organisations and bodies applying to market coffee; to liaise with the Bank of Uganda in respect of repatriation of foreign exchange obtained from the sale of coffee; to set the quality control standards under which coffee is sold; to certify all coffee exports; to collect, maintain and disseminate statistical data in respect of all aspects of the coffee industry; to advise the Government on the mechanism for determining the minimum price for the sale of coffee; (h) to monitor world market price changes and adjust the minimum price on a day-to-day basis to reflect the changes; (i) to research and make extension arrangements through the Ministry responsible for agriculture or any other organisation established in the country for the purpose; (j) to reconcile coffee subsector policies with the macroeconomic policies of the Government; (k) to liaise with the International Coffee Organisation and be responsible for the administration of the stamps of the organisation; (l) to liaise with other international organisations and promote Uganda’s coffee on the world market; (m) to be responsible for the overall supervision of the coffee subsector, including related industries, and advise the Government on coffee subsector policies; (n) to organise training for technicians, coffee processors and quality controllers” (CHAPTER 325 THE UGANDA COFFEE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY ACT, 1994).
So when I read from the spreadsheet from the Cabinet meeting at the State House, where the gist is to replace the 325, because they want to development of competitive, equitable and sustainable coffee, promote Coffee research, good Coffee farming practices, domestic coffee consumption and add value to the Coffee. Also, provide the Authority regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the Coffee Value Chain, streamline and harmonize the institution in the development of the Coffee Sector and to promote the Coffee sub-sector.
As what I see, the UCDA Act of 1994, not only hold the grabbing hands on all of this, but the mandate of the Authority is already, just not managed well, apparently. If the state cared about the Authority, they wouldn’t lack needed staff, as the Auditor General Report of December 2016, said the staff had 29 open positions, I don’t know if its as bad today, but wouldn’t be shocked if there was openings that the UCDA couldn’t fill, because of lack of funds.
What is striking to me, is that what the Cabinet Meeting of 21st May 2018, is what is in the statute of 1994. It just using a few different words, but if they cared about the UCDA, they would fund it properly and also actually have proper oversight of the operations. As the UCDA has often given away bad seedlings to Coffee farmers, in the same fashion as the Operation Wealth Creations has to its SACCO’s around the Republic. Like the Auditor General report of December 2016 says: “ Failure to plant and maintain coffee seedlings that were distributed and received by the farmers is wastage of Government Funds and eventually leads to failure to achieve planned coffee outputs at national level. Further, beneficiary lists withfarmers that never received inputs may be an indicator of irregular dealings on the part of seedling suppliers” (AG Report on UCDA December 2016, P: 19).
Therefore, the changing of words within the law is not fixing the remedy of the goodwill to generate more coffee and better yields. It is actually giving the king, what the king needs. That is not more fancy lingo, but actually actions and funds, also accountability, so that the farmers and the other part of the coffee production chain. Can all benefit from the Authority. On December 2017, the MoFPED delivered the National Budget Framework, which said this: “Continued implementation of the Coffee 2020 road map aimed at achieving 20million bags of 60Kg each per annum, including supporting research interventions at the National Agricultural Coffee Research Institute (NACORI) to produce high yielding coffee varieties and disease resistant tissue culture plants for coffee as well as development of a National Coffee Bill, 2017 that focuses on developing the entire coffee value chain and enable the country consolidate its dominant position in export earnings and employment” (MoFPED, P: 18, December 2017).
Therefore, the Cabinet meeting has initially decided to follow the guidelines of the National Budget Framework, as it was in December 2017. That is not surprising, but what is weird is the wording and how little change it is from the original law, that they are repealing. Unless, they have some magical formula sprinkled over it, making it a beautiful cake, instead of a boring bun with a little whipped cream. Because that is what it seems.
If you read the objectives of 1994, it doesn’t seem so far away from 2018, does it?
“The objectives of the authority shall be— to promote, improve and monitor marketing of coffee with a view to optimising foreign exchange earnings and payments to the farmers; to control the quality of coffee in order to ensure that all coffee exported meets the standards stipulated by the contract between the seller and the buyer; to monitor the price of coffee in order to ensure that no export contract for the sale of coffee is concluded at a price below the minimum price; to develop and promote the coffee and other related industries through research and extension arrangements; to promote the marketing of coffee as a final product; (f) to promote domestic consumption of coffee” (UCDA Act of 1994).
That seems a lot like the spreadsheet of the Cabinet from yesterday, right?
Its only the value chain and add value on the coffee that is very new, but the rest more of the same. I am baffled or even shocked by this. It is like the Cabinet haven’t read the old bill or cared about the provisions there and thought. Maybe we should have better oversight of the Authority, instead they are changing wording and thinking that is magic wand to change the current predicament. If they wanted real change, they would have reformed the organization internally and used the provisions already there. But it is easier to make a leaflet, than change people’s mind and allocate funds.
Good morning and smell the coffee, well, I smell it, but more of the same. Just attached “sustainable” on the package, but taste is the same as yesterday. Peace.
“He explained that the NRM manifesto is anchored in Vision 2040 and the second National Development Plan. It commits to deliver Ugandans into middle income status and to ensure sustainable development” (Mubiru, 2018).
Well, it is that time of the year. To prove the National Resistance Movement (NRM), that their empty promises. Because when you collect the news together. It is easy to see how things doesn’t add up. If the NRM was on their way to sustainable development, like Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda talked about earlier last week. Then all of the news coming wouldn’t fit. The narrative cannot be growth and development, when all of these issues are happening at the same time. It doesn’t fit. The glove has to fit the hand. The three things that doesn’t add up is the missing funds for the Presidents own Village Poverty Program, relief food for Karamoja and also a missing sugar factory.
Village Poverty Program:
“State House has said it needs at least Shs 5bn to roll out the model village poverty alleviation initiative by President Yoweri Museveni. In the request contained in the Ministry of Presidency’s policy statement and budget estimates for 2018/2019, State House said the existing Shs 1bn budget for the project is too little and therefore a 500 percent increase is vital. The current Shs 1bn has only managed to establish small scale commercial agricultural farms in 21 model villages. The country, according to Electoral Commission of 2016 data, has 59,700 villages” (Okello, 2018).
Donate relief food:
“The government of China has donated food aid worth $5 million (about Shs 18bn) to the World Food Programme (WFP) to support a feeding programme for vulnerable groups threatened by malnutrition in the Karamoja sub-region. More than 2000,000 people mostly school going children, infants and mothers are threatened by malnutrition in Karamoja according to official figures” (Lyatuu, 2018).
No existent Sugar Factory:
“It is five years, since Atiak Sugar Factory under Haryal investment Holdings Limited was rolled out in Amuru District, to commence sugar production, but has since stalled, leaving a number of sugar cane farmers stranded. “The people shifted from food crops with hope to earn from sugar cane. Out growers are now worried that the factory will not take off in time to fully untilise the 4,000 acres planted,” reads part of their petition. Kilak North MP, Anthonu Akol who read out the petition to the Speaker said that the farmers are stuck with no factory to sell their sugarcane and questioning why the minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, sold to them hot air” (Kyeyune, 2018).
All of these issues shouldn’t be at this state, if the state was seriously developing and on the way to Middle-Income status. There are so many issues that is missing, not only the ghosts and the added debt ratio in the budgets. This is all minor measures in the bigger picture, but it proves the lack of governance and accountability, when the state can grab land in Amuru district, but never deliver the promised the factory. As this been going on for years.
That the middle income cannot be fulfilled when the village poverty is so prevalent, that the scale is not fitting the needs. You know that the state lacks resources and well-funded plans to even achieve this. The President should have made sure and ensured the progress and at the planning stages, it this is his program, to be sure about the right amount and needed facilitation to deliver to the needed villages. That is apparently a mixed bag wooh-ha and nonsense.
Last but not least, is the donating of food to Karamoja, which in it self a sign of lack of progress. When your not able to meet the needs of your population and have good enough agricultural policies and output to feed yourself and your own kind. You know that the Middle Income Status is far-fetched, when this is still an issue. You know there are miles afar from the promise land. That the NRM and the President is clearly not delivering. There is no excuse in the book, that can fix the grandest issues of not being able to feed all communities and districts of Uganda. You know they are far from Middle Income, when China has to donate food to you….
Enough of the nonsense. Peace.
Kyeyune, Moses – ‘Acholi sugarcane growers seek Parliament help over stalled factory’ (16.05.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Acholi-sugarcane-growers-seek-Parliament-help-stalled-factory/688334-4565238-ueostj/index.html
Lyatuu, Justus – ‘China donates relief food to Karamoja’ (19.05.2018) link: http://observer.ug/news/headlines/57707-china-donates-relief-food-to-karamoja.html
Mubiru, Apollo – ‘NRM Manifesto: The road to modernity’ (18.05.2018) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1477948/road-modernity
Okello, Dickens H. – ‘Shs5Bn Needed for Museveni’s Village Poverty Alleviation Program’ (21.05.2018) link: http://chimpreports.com/shs5bn-needed-for-musevenis-village-poverty-alleviation-program/