Ban on Uganda exports the EU takes effect

LETS PUT OUR HOUSE IN ORDER: Minister Amelia Kyambadde

 

The Uganda government has set up a technical team to train Ugandan farmers on quality compliance and pest control as a self-imposed ban on the export of fresh fruits and vegetables to European markets takes effect.

The ban, announced by Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde, is in response to numerous notifications of noncompliance to EU standards by a number of Ugandan exporters.

As a result several EU member countries raised a red flag on Ugandan products due to poor standards and excessive chemicals.

The European Union has remained the biggest market for Ugandan goods like fish, flowers and agricultural products earning the economy more than $ 800 million annually.

However, Communication from the Ugandan Embassy in Brussels has since last year indicated that most of the produce exported from Uganda had harmful organisms such as African cotton leaf worm, false codling moth, Trioza SSP and fruit flies, Kyambadde told journalists in Kampala this week.

In one of the notifications, Belgium said it found traces of live insects in Ugandan commodities. She said that the interceptions have affected exporters of Pepper (capsicum), roses, curry leaves and various fruits and vegetables.

She said Uganda needs to move ahead of the EU to correct errors in its production and export chain in order to avert a severe economic crisis that may arise if the European Union moves to ban Ugandan products.

“If this matter is not addressed the EU will impose a ban on exports and Uganda could record losses of up to 63.9 million dollars,” Kyambadde underscored

She said a team comprising of experts from Export Promotions Board, Civil Aviation Authority, Internal security Organization, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Entebbe handling services, Uganda Revenue Authority and District Agricultural officers will over the next one month seek long-term solutions to the problem.

The task will also involve registering all exporters; inspecting farms of fresh produce and retrain farmers and exporters on standards. This would ensure that Ugandan products meet all the specified import requirements and are in conformity with the certifying statement of the appropriate model.