The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has tasked the Prime Minister and Minister without Portfolio, Rukia Nakadama, to ensure that farmers are provided with coffee seedlings.
Tayebwa made the call during the plenary on Wednesday afternoon.
“These coffee seedlings and tree seedlings that you give us are one of the ways that MPs are able to engage and work with the communities. This is very important to us, we need seedlings,” said Tayebwa.
He then directed the Prime Minister to provide a statement during the next sitting on Thursday, 05 May 2022, on the government’s plan to provide seedlings to farmers.
The Deputy Speaker was giving guidance on a matter of national importance raised by the Kabula County MP, Hon. Enos Asiimwe.
According to Asiimwe, it being a coffee season, efforts by farmers to get seedlings through the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) have been frustrating.
“You are aware that a Coffee Policy was passed in 2017 with the objective of supporting farmers in terms of production and productivity. Farmers have requested seedlings from UCDA but they say they cannot procure seedlings because the finance ministry has not released the funds,” he said.
He asked Tayebwa to compel the minister to release funds for procurement of the seedlings, saying that farmers have already invested in clearing gardens.
Hon. Denis Sekabira (NUP, Katikamu County North) said that he faced the same problem, after mobilising over 1,000 farmers who needed seedlings.
“I contacted the Executive Director of UCDA who told me that there is no money to procure seedlings. Unfortunately, nursery bed operators have seedlings and farmers are ready but UCDA is not ready to procure seedlings,” said Sekabira.
Nakadama, however, questioned why UCDA raised the issue of no funds, saying that farmers are usually given seedlings and payments done later.
“Why is it now that UCDA is saying that they do not have money? When you apply for seedlings, they are given to the CDO then payment is claimed later. I am also a farmer who has been giving out seedlings,” she revealed.