By Georges Colot in France, via UAH forum
Uganda coffee has been available in France and all over Europe and America since time immemorial!The Great Benedicto Kiwanuka, when premier, did a lot of effort to continue promoting it overseas and to get subsidies that enabled affordable price given to our farmers; same thing to coffee, tobacco, simsim, cotton, ETC… That was the time when coffee shot from 28 cts a pound to 65 cts, and cotton from 18 cts a pound to 40 cts, ETC..
At the time of Idi Amin our Ugandan Embassy in Paris was a centre for promoting coffee and for seeking market all over Europe. And I remember it was Minister-Counsellor Nathan Odoi (RIP), who eventually became PS in Uganda, who was then in-charge of the coffee body in his capacity as Chief Commercial Attaché at the Embassy. And very many business personalities used to frequent his office!
And remember this was the time when Uganda collected a colossal 1 billion dollars in coffee and cotton sales, a thing which gave some boost to Amin’s dictatorial regime. And stories were rampant as to why Amin was succeeding inside the country because he was strict on encouraging agriculture, and therefore the country had a lot of food and cash crops to boast about!
There is no need to read that bill when tradition, culture, etc.. as part and parcel of Uganda’s farming ambition have already done wonders in the field whose action has produced myriads of very positive assets in all sectors of the nation’s life. Biils and bills under the NRM regime have been read and no democratic debate before the populace has been initiated! Only to hear them voted and passed in Parliament and always to the detriment of the humble population!
The many opposed to the bill are products of the effort of coffee farmers whose taxes etc.. have supported school
and university activity and have helped run all essential services such as health, etc…Coffee, cotton, and the rest are
part and parcel of a working civilization in the country and therefore any question regarding them must be handled
very carefully whether by the govt or by any other institution. Katikkiro Mayiga and others attacking the bill have a good
reason to do so and their point should be carefully looked into. Many have read the bill and they have a deep mistrust
of its intentions!
The Coffee bill and all its unpatriotic attachments are a thing which any Ugandan must find shallow, illogical, and out of mode and out of place ! To begin with, what’s its essence and importance to a potential coffee grower and to any Ugandan who wants to engage in the produce of the commercial product?
Outright it can be seen as something that deprives Ugandans of any initiative to financially cater for their existence through a traditional occupation like agriculture. People proudly enjoy growing cash crops on their bibanjas and this is how they have always tried to succeed in being financially self-reliant and in taking to that pride of developing their local areas and regions!
The government poking their nose everywhere is an act of low class contribution to the welfare of the nation! And all this is politics with unknown plans behind!
Ugandans should push up for coffee and cotton which are among the great products that will, in a not far long run, be in short supply on the world market given the very high consumption levels they now enjoy and will continue to enjoy until their supply will be running to complete exhaustion!
Fellow Ugandans, please grow coffee as you like! And don’t listen to any of those sub-elementary threats which are just intended to marginalize your very great minds!