By D. Ssempijja and P. Tentena
LOCAL juice makers lost about sh22b last year to the imported juice market, a local researcher has said. Kennedy Ssejjemba, who is co-ordinating research on the pineapple value chain under the Round Table Africa programme, noted that Ugandans preferred juice imported from Kenya and South Africa to locally-produced brands, hence the loss.
â€œThe Government should increase 25% tax on imported juice to protect local manufacturers,â€ said Ssejjemba during a pineapple sector stakeholders meeting at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala recently.
Pineapple exporters also asked the Government to subsidise freight charges for pineapples and other perishable goods.
â€œWe pay $2.5 to transport a kilogramme of pineapples to Europe. This is too much for a local producer.
â€œThe Government should come out and subsidise the fees,â€ noted John Ssempebwa, a trade consultant.
Ssejjemba added that Uganda exports 300 tonnes of pineapples every year, earning just 200,000 euros (about 700m).
Uganda produces 1,600 tonnes of pineapple each year.