By Prossy Nandudu
Exporters of fresh produce are losing out on the international market due to poor quality fruits and vegetables and limited knowledge on soils and plants.
The observation was made by the director of KK Fresh Produce Exporters, James Kanyinje, at a meeting with the trade industry and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
“The demand for horticultural products is high but the quality of Uganda’s produce leaves a lot to be desired,” Kanyije said.
He noted that many Ugandan products fail to meet the international market requirements, especially for the EU, UK and North America.
Kanyije said the absence of a cold chain system affects the quality of fresh produce in transit.
“Exporters lack cold chains, which is a burden because they have to incur extra costs of controlling the transportation and storage conditions.”
The UNBS director, Dr. Ben Manyindo, called on horticultural exporters and farmers to use the UNBS standard on horticulture products to attract bigger markets.
He explained that the standards specify requirements to be followed in the production of edible and ornamental horticultural products for both home and export markets.
Manyindo said lack of horticultural standards has been one of the missing links in the competitiveness of Uganda’s products and services.
“The development of horticultural standards over the last six months is yet another step in enhancing trade competitiveness for our export products,” he said.