By Hason Mutunzi Bwambale (Contributor)
The State Minister of ICT and National Guidance, the Hon. Godfrey Baluku Kabbyanga has commended Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union in Kasese district for their remarkable efforts geared towards improving the Arabica coffee as one of the income earners for the country.
According to Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) data, Uganda exported 6.55 million bags of coffee worth $657.23 million in the year to October 2021, compared with 5.41 million in the same period 2020, earning $513.79 million.
The price of Arabica Coffee Beans products is between $5,972.25 (USD)– $11.28 (USD) per Kg during Feb ’21 – Jan ’22.
Minister Kabbyanga who spent part of the day (Friday) at Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union in Kyarumba Town Council of Bukonzo County East has courted the entire District to embrace coffee growing as a multiplier effect for the country and their livelihoods.
“The district leadership should always recognize people with big names and leave people like Bukonzo Joint Cooperative who have showed the whole world that Kasese has the best coffee”, Minister Kabbyanga said.
He implored the general public to start changing their ways of operations by impressing togetherness in order to have the biggest bargaining power.
However, the outspoken leader said this can only be achieved if the population learns how to support pro-people programs and stop politicizing everything government does to uplift people’s livelihoods.
“Don’t look at each other as enemies because of politics”, He said.
He specifically hailed Mr. Painato Baluku, the Managing Director for Bukonzo Joint Cooperative union for his resilience, determination and committed so that his team achieves what they started 20 years ago.
“When I was in Denmark, I went for shopping and I saw some coffee labeled Bukonzo Joint Coffee. I was extremely happy and I was told by the people I had gone with that indeed coffee from the mountains is too sweet”, Minister Kabyanga told a well-attended Annual General Meeting for the Union.
He pledged government’s commitment towards modernizing agriculture and challenged the union members to continue improving coffee production.
On security, the minister courted the members to work for peace and unity also stressing the need for them to help the office bearers to strengthen security in their respective areas.
“Sometime you hear people saying peace is not eaten, if you want to witness what is the importance of peace, visit countries that have been peaceful and see”, Minister added.
However, the area leaders told the former Mayor for Kasese Municipality that their areas are now battling with an increase of drug abuse.
In response, Kabyanga confessed that indeed drug abuse was a precursor for underdevelopment in the country.
“You know, the challenge with drug abuse is that It has never been recognized as a drug, but our Parliament needs to help us and make a law to criminalize those who are abusing drugs, the National Drug Authority needs to help us because marijuana is spoiling our youths”, Minister Kabbyanga adds.
On pledges made by the president when he visited the union headquarters in 2015, Kabbyanga advised Mr. Baluku to write to the president through the district leaders reminding him about the pledge of about shillings 100m he promised the union.
The Minister used the same podium to reveal that the Parish Development Model program will be officially launched on February 28th in Kibukku District.
He then asked leaders to ensure that the intended program realizes it’s tangible results so that every household is empowered economically after acquiring a loan on an affordable interest rate.
According to Kabbyanga, a team from the ministry will be coming in the district to meet the leaders and sensitize the public about the intended project which will at the start give out shillings 17 million to each parish. He added that beginning with the next financial year, the money will be increased to 100 million each parish.
Hon. Kabbyanga stated that what was required from the beneficiaries is to select trustworthy leaders. He also noted that the parish Development model is not coming to replace Emyooga or any other government programs aimed at empowering the locals.