In Mengo, Uganda, the Kabaka of Buganda has requested government through various avenues to help improve coffee production in the country.
The Kabaka urged government to find means of shielding coffee farmers from extreme price fluctuations and to access capital to finance their efforts. He said he expected the government to also listen to the coffee farmers on all issues concerning the coffee sector.
Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II said this on Sunday during the Kabaka’s 29th Coronation anniversary at his Mengo Palace.
The Kabaka thanked all who have heeded the Katikkiro (Prime Minister of Buganda) CP Mayiga’s call to grow coffee. He urged all to engage in growing coffee to reduce household poverty and grow the economy.
He said that because coffee production is able to get people out of poverty, the government should strengthen the agriculture extension system so that farmers can get high quality seedlings at affordable rates and to receive technical knowledge from extension workers at the sub counties so as to improve coffee yields and quality.
Kabaka Mutebi added that the government should set up price controls so that coffee prices cannot go so low that it generally affects farmers and those in the coffee business. He also called for tailored financing services from banks and financial institutions for farmers to be able to access quick loans and expand the coffee growing enterprise.
He said it would be wise if government revived the cooperatives so as to enable coffee farmers to have a collective voice partaking to coffee production. In this he also urged government to get views from those involved in coffee production before making any decisions that affect the rapidly growing coffee business.
Kabaka Mutebi’s calls come at a time when the kingdom is one of the stakeholders in the coffee business through Mwanyi Terimba Limited which buys coffee from the farmers and finds market for it externally. The Kingdom rolled out the Emmwanyi Terimba initiative with a goal of promoting coffee growing in the kingdom and later on set up a company to buy the coffee from the farmers, completing the value chain of coffee as spearheaded by BUCADEF.
In 2016, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga under the Kingdom of Buganda inaugurated a campaign dubbed “Emwanyi Terimba”. Mayiga engaged the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and formed a partnership to boost coffee growing in Buganda region.
The UCDA was to provide seedlings and partner with the kingdom’s Buganda Cultural and Development Foundation (BUCADEF) to provide technical knowledge on the new development while the kingdom was to ensure people embrace growing coffee again. However according to the Katikkiro the UCDA is no longer providing the seedlings to the people of Buganda as agreed in the partnership.
Katikkiro Mayiga revealed that people have embraced the campaign, and coffee growing in the kingdom has increased by 35%. He also revealed that Buganda region contributed 30% of the coffee exported from Uganda.
During the celebrations the Kabaka also unveiled paintings of 31 former kings of Buganda from Kabaka Kintu to Ssuuna II.