“Uganda is a growing exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables and over the last five years has had challenges penetrating lucrative international markets due to non-compliance to international standards and SPS measures
Uganda will this year host over 250 delegates for an international conference on standards for Fresh fruits and Vegetables.
According to Barbara Kamusiime, the UNBS Spokesperson, the 1st ever conference on fruits will take place on 6th October 2017 and will be will be convened at Imperial Royale hotel in Kampala.
"Uganda is a growing exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables and over the last five years has had challenges penetrating lucrative international markets due to non-compliance to international standards and SPS measures.
To mitigate this, a number of strategies have been adopted including but not limited to increased involvement in setting of international food standards through Codex as a way of harmonizing of Uganda standards for fresh fruits and vegetables with other trading partners.
It is to this end that Uganda initiated arrangements with the government of Mexico in January 2016 to co-host the 20th session of the codex committee on fresh fruits and vegetables," said Kamusiime.
During the conference, delegates will discuss commodity standards for the sector that are important for the Country including standards for Irish potatoes, egg plants, garlic, kiwi fruit and dates. Delegates will come from Kenya, Mexico,Netherlands,Ghana,Italy,Brazil,Cameroon,China,Tanzania,India,USA,German,Nigeria,Canada.
Agriculture contributes up to 23.6% to the Gross Domestic Product in Uganda and according to current statistics, the formal exports for fruits were 7,957 tonnes and vegetables at 11,993 tonnes with a total value of USD 87,210,000 (UBOS, 2016). This demonstrates the importance of the fruits and vegetables value chain in Uganda and the right place to hold the international meeting on standards for the sector.
"The Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables will give Uganda the opportunity to raise the profile of Codex and food safety in the Country, share experience with other countries, earn foreign exchange, positioning Uganda to have an improved access to international markets for exports of fresh fruits and vegetables and also show case her tourism potential.
The benefits can be summarized as "marketing Uganda's tourism potential through Codex and raising awareness of food safety issues through Codex.
As part of the preparations for the international meeting, UNBS has taken a coordination role as the Contact point.