KAMPALA – The government and the European Union have signed a Shs15.6 billion agreement that will see Ugandan farmers trained on how to improve their products to meet export standards.
According to Attilio Pacifici, the EU Head of Delegation to Uganda, the financing agreement for market access upgrade program aims at addressing both the supply side and market access constraints in East African community countries on export-oriented commodities for agro-industrial crops such as coffee tea cocoa and horticulture such as avocado spices and peas.
“There is a market in Europe, China and USA but the way you do things here is not right way. The kind of coffee you produce here cannot be sold in Europe. It can be sold here, but it cannot meet the demand in Europe. If you want to change your lives, meet the demands of the market,” he said at the signing of the agreement in Kampala on Friday.
He explained that by empowering local farmers with skills to attain international standards, they are improving their financial muscle to invest in production processes which are acceptable in the international market which will make them stronger trading partners.
“You must think about the whole chain. There is nothing government or the European Union can do if the private sector cannot meet these specifications. When you send mangoes or horticulture with insects and pesticides, they will be blocked and a lot of money would have been lost,” he explained.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, who signed on behalf of Uganda, applauded EU for the initiative.
He decried failure by Ugandan farmers to supply cows for the three newly constructed abattoirs, which are meant to export meat.
“We have three abattoirs in Bombo, Migera and Lyantondo but they do not have enough animals. The Egyptian one in Bombo needs 400 animals for slaughter daily but they are not there as far as beef is concerned,” he said explaining that the country does not have sufficient animals attributing the problem to low production.
The minister explained that even in horticulture, he is aware that farmers engaged in export business are facing production and logistical problems because the market is available but they cannot meet the quality and quantities required.