In a bid to comply with European Union regulations restricting the production of agricultural products, including coffee, from deforested areas, the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is seeking a budget allocation of Shs35 billion for the installation of a national coffee traceability system.
Janet Okori-Moe, the Chairperson of Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, disclosed that the traceability system aims to register various stakeholders in the coffee value chain, such as farmers, nursery operators, processors, roasters, and exporters.
However, the proposal faced skepticism from Dickson Kateshumbwa a representative from Sheema Municipality, who questioned the necessity and cost-effectiveness of the proposed system. Kateshumbwa inquired, “When you say that UCDA requires Shs35 billion to establish a traceability system, is this made on Mars? What kind of system is this, Shs35 billion? Have you interrogated them to tell you, have you benchmarked?”
UCDA is not only requesting funds for the traceability system but is also seeking an additional Shs13.952 billion to address other critical issues.
This includes Shs1.566 billion for promoting Uganda’s coffee in China, Shs1.66 billion for the Middle East and Maghreb, and Shs1.2 billion for the construction of a coffee hub in Kyambogo.
Dickson Kateshumbwa expressed further skepticism about these additional proposals, particularly questioning the need for Shs1.2 billion to establish a coffee hub in Kyambogo and Shs1.5 billion for promoting coffee in China. He emphasized the importance of scrutinizing these figures to ensure rational decision-making.
The debate within the Parliament highlights concerns about the justification and allocation of funds for these projects, with Kateshumbwa urging a thorough examination of the proposed figures. The issues raised by the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee and the subsequent queries from the representative indicate a need for transparency and accountability in the allocation of funds for the coffee industry’s development initiatives.