By Darious Magara
Uganda has a potential of accessing the European Market (EU) by selling more horticultural products if Government helps both farmers and exporters to improve quality of the products.
One of the leading importers of fresh food stuffs says the biggest challenge they face is failure to get updates of latest guidelines and directives about products they usually export from the EU that is supposed to be finished by the Government and the ministry of agriculture.
The farmers and exporters also have no much Government support in terms of incentives such as chemicals to spray the products in the process of production and as well as tax holidays and other incentives for exporters of horticulture products.
James Kanyije the director of KK Fresh produce exporters Ltd said Governments of Ethiopian, India, and Pakistan give business incentives to horticulture products of 40% and a lot of support is given to farmers to improve on the quality of their products.
He told reporters at his office in Nalya friday , that they lack a laboratory equipment to test the products before they are exported as it is done Nairobi.
“We have to take the trouble of flying to either France or England and check about the latest guidelines and directives of the expected quality of products which change from time to time. For example, issues are raised by buyers about the content of chemical residues which are sometimes too high.,” Kanyije said.
He said he exports hot paper and Green chillie (bad eye) to England and France and constitute 42% of his total exports of horticulture products.
“The buyers like our hot paper because it is not necessarily the best on the EU market but that it has a great taste. So if we can perfect this product, we can always be sure to earn these dollars,” Kanyije adds.
He however in nut shell says that the products should have less chemical content and should not ripen.
Other products he exports or that are wanted on the EU market are Matooke, apple, banana, Gunda, Red kidney beans and black passion fruit.
And Karela, sugarcane, groundnuts, papdi, white sweet potatoes, maize, Mayumi yam, white garden eggs and raw mangoes.
He said they had started to deal directly with about 3000 farmers country wide. They have made a move to dodge middlemen because they affect stable production of the products by under paying farmers.
Kanyije also said they had established a partnership with a B i Trust, a financial institution to give incentives to farmers to boost production and quality of their produce. The partnership now helps coordinators and some farmers to acquire motorcycles.
He also appealed to Police at Entebbe Airport to stamp out exporters who stuff drugs in horticultural products. “A certain dubious exporter was recently arrested with drugs in UK and that has raised questions on Ugandan businessmen increasing hours of checks before products access the market.” He says.
KK Fresh produce exporters Ltd has ordered for a machine worth sh124 million from India which will process hot paper into both powder and paste forms.
In its future plans, wants to acquire a laboratory equipment to test products. The company exports 603, 200 tons of hot paper annually.