“Prosecute immature coffee harvesters” – President

Friday 21st September 2012

President Yoweri Museveni has directed the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives to investigate, arrest and prosecute profit hungry farmers and traders who are in the habit of harvesting pre-mature coffee and adulterate the good Ugandan coffee with that sub-standard crop. He said this led to compromising the quality of the coffee produce which inevitably affects the commodity’s demand on the international market.

The President said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, through the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (CDA) and that responsible for Trade, Industry and Co-operatives through the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), should investigate and cause the arrest and prosecution of those farmers as well as traders that are engaged in the illicit act of harvesting immature coffee beans because their acts are affecting the quality of the country’s agricultural produce. He referred to such people as the enemies of the agricultural sector.

Mr. Museveni made the remarks yesterday while presiding over celebrations marking the 90th International Day of Co-operatives. The celebrations took place at Kabwohe Town Council grounds in Sheema district in South Western Uganda.

Mr. Museveni noted that agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy that employs more people than any other sector in the country adding that the government is not ready to sit back while some unprincipled and greedy farmers and traders continue to spoil the quality of the country’s agricultural produce on the international market. He, therefore, cautioned those involved in the heinous act to stop it immediately or risk facing strong penalties in accordance with the law.

The President congratulated the Cooperative Movement worldwide upon their 90th year of existence and the achievements realized over the period. He commended the spirit of unity and togetherness exhibited by the cooperative movements that has seen them grow, expand and achieve a lot over the years.

Mr. Museveni urged Ugandans to take seriously the cooperatives’ teaching and advice regarding the culture of saving. He said that the developed countries such as India and China had attained economic success because of the saving culture of their respective citizens as opposed to the African culture that saves less but consumes much of its earnings.

The President warned Savings and Credit Co-operative Organizations (SACCOs) that are receiving government funding, to desist from seeking collateral security from Ugandans who want to access credit. He reminded them that this is against the laws and principles on which the government-supported SACCOS were founded. He promised that government will study and consider scraping taxes levied on the SACCOS. 

Mr. Museveni also urged district leaders in the country to use the much available mass media to sensitize the wananchi on good hygiene and nutrition to stop the reported high levels of malnutrition among children in the Greater Bushenyi area.

The Minister of Trade, industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Amelia Ann Kyambadde, said that the Ugandan Cooperative Movement was the best in Africa and many countries had come to the country to learn from its experience. She said that though it had made great strides in the improvement of the member’s economic and social welfare, the Ugandan cooperative movement and the Trade Ministry were faced with several challenges that include funding in value addition, lack of sufficient supervision due to under-staffing, low capitalization and lack of storage facilities, among others.

She, however, said that the cooperatives have generated a lot of employment for many Ugandans both directly and indirectly and urged more Ugandans to join the cooperatives and enjoy their benefits.

The Chairperson of the Ugandan Cooperative Alliance, Mr. Wambete Nimrod, commended President Museveni for being the number one supporter and promoter of the cooperative movement. He said the cooperative movement had recovered and learnt from the past experience that has now given it impetus to work better for the improved wellbeing of the members.

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