Kagera coffee farmers wonder if Magufuli's promise will materialize

Farmers in Karagwe and Kyerwa districts of Kagera region are skeptical whether President John Magufuli’s promise to raise coffee price will materialize or not after co-operative societies and private coffee buyers announcing the purchasing price for 2016/20017 season which is very low compared to that one offered in a neighboring country of Uganda.

Speaking in their farming areas last Saturday where the season of harvesting and drying coffee is at the highly taking place the farmers are querying on cooperative unions and private companies offering lower price comparing to the one smuggles from neighboring country are offering.

Mr Valentine Magezi, a coffee grower in Kyerwa District is worrisome about formation and presence of cooperative unions and why did they change from what they used to be in the past. 
“You see, farmers used to access subsidy and arrears payment from our cooperative societies in the past, but nowadays, all we get is lowest prices, they (cooperative societies) making sure to lower famers income comparing to private buyers”
Mr Magaezi said that Karagwe Co-operative Union (KDCU) has announced a purchasing price of 1,200 Tshs per Kilogram of dried coffee while private companies buys at 1,300 per kilo. He further criticized his decision to keep on growing coffee as a source of earning cash compared to food crops.
“It is better to turn to growing vegetables and fruits which can be sold regularly and earn money that coffee which comes once a year after inputting much energy in growing it then disturbs government’s mind while politicians uses it as a stepping stone when it comes to electoral campaigns”. Said Mr. Magezi
KDCU’s acting General manager Mr Victor Robert said that it is not true that the union will buy coffee at the said price and that the price is yet to be revealed.
“1,200 per Kg is a price that was announced during the union’s general meeting that took place in February 2016. The real price is not yet determined and it will depend on the world market” said the acting director
He further said that KDCU will open buying season any time from now though it is not yet sure of what will be buying price. On president’s promise to raise farmer’s income and offering competitive price against that of Neighboring country, the acting director said it will depend on the world market’s price.

President John Magurufi promised coffee growers in Karagwe District and Kagera region at large that their will earn good more money if they voted for him to power during last year’s campaign rallies. He assured coffee growers that none of them will wish to smuggle coffee to Uganda for his government will make sure to offer competitive price.

Last month police force in Karagwe district warned coffee growers of smugglers who according to the police are covertly hunting coffee for smuggling in different villages of the district which raised skepticism for president’s promise to offer competitive price against one offered in Uganda.


By Kamala Lutatinisibwa