President Museveni signed the Coffee Bill into law on 31 August 2021 and on 13 September 2021 the Act was gazetted under supplement Act No. 17.
The purpose of the National Coffee Act, 2021 is to facilitate development of a competitive, participatory and sustainable coffee sub sector in accordance with the National Coffee Policy, 2013; to provide for UCDA to regulate, promote and oversee the coffee sub sector; and to regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the coffee value chain.
The law seeks to address new developments, advances and challenges that have emerged in: Coffee research and extension services, Farmer organizations, Climate change. The UCDA Act enacted twenty-eight years ago, did not meet the current needs and long-term goals of Government.
The Act addressed the following gaps: Regulating the coffee value chain starting with on-farm activities – generation of planting materials, soil mgt, irrigation, pest & disease mgt & harvesting to off-farm activities – drying, sorting, primary processing and tertiary processing.
Empowering UCDA to provide coffee extension services beyond agronomic practices; Constituting a national coffee farmers register. The Act empowers UCDA to register all farmers engaged in coffee production to enhance planning, traceability and targeting of service delivery.
Defining the roles of different stakeholders in the value chain; Introducing a voluntary coffee auction system to offer an alternative method of selling coffee and ..Repealing redundant clauses overtaken by time.
The National Coffee Act, 2021: provides for coffee research and development, which is vital to the improvement in production and productivity, quality and value addition, market development and intelligence and institutional development and accountability.
Allows UCDA to lead the implementation of coffee specific extension services by coordinating the efforts of different agencies and other stakeholders; Strengthen the fees and penalties in the current Act, which are weak and therefore need enhancement to make them deterrent
LICENCING: The Act does not seek to license coffee farmers. It does however seek to register coffee farmers. Part IV of the Act provides for registration of coffee farmers, nursery operators, seed gardens operators, farmer organisations & cooperatives.
FARMER INFORMATION: UCDA will use the information compiled to facilitate the provision of services to coffee farmers individually or through farmer groups. These services include; Extension services on seed gardens & seed management, GAPs, disease & pest control, Harvest & PHH
Budgeting & planning for the services that are critical for coffee production & productivity; Economic market trends: traceability of coffee.
Coffee buyers/consumers want to know where the coffee they consume comes from, who produces it & what farming practices they employ.
FARMER REGISTRAION IS FREE: Registration will have no cost for the farmer. Registration of farmers shall be free.
LICENSING: According to the Act, a person shall not operate a pulpery, buy coffee, grade coffee, roast coffee, brew coffee, operate a coffee shop or coffee store, a warehouse of coffee huller or process or export coffee on a commercial basis without a license issued by UCDA.
Coffee is a beverage & should conform to required health/safety standards. The quality of coffee, machines used by the processors/brewers/baristsas must not compromise the health of a consumer. The purpose of licensing is to protect the consumer & ensure standards are adhered to.