20231228_095041

Ugandan Peppers Given Green Light to Re-Enter European Market

After years of being banned from export to the European Union (EU) due to failure to meet safety and quality standards, the Ugandan pepper market has received a much-needed boost. The EU has lifted the ban on Ugandan peppers after a thorough examination process that proved they now meet the required standards, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

A statement by MAAIF dated December 22, 2023, announces that the peppers of genus Capsicum (other than sweet) originating in Uganda have been removed from Annex I to the EU Regulation 2019/1793. This is according to a recent communication received from the European Commission, Directorate-General for Health (DG SANTE).

The EU 2019 audit resulted in Ugandan peppers being moved to annex 1, which is the worst before a ban- this means increased controls, all peppers had to be checked thoroughly.

According to the letter from DG SANTE, the information available indicates a satisfactory degree of compliance, leading to the decision that official controls at a harmonized increased level by national competent authorities at the entry into the Union will no longer be carried out. Instead, routine checks will be performed, streamlining the process for Ugandan pepper exports to the European market.

The move is seen as significant for Ugandan farmers, as it will open up additional markets, maximize earnings and result in an overall economic boost. With the ban lift, Uganda is now allowed to provide peppers to the EU, its largest market and the revenue generated could help to create employment opportunities and reduce poverty.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Maj. Gen. David Kasura-Kyomukama said, “This positive development is a result of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and various stakeholders involved in the pepper production and export chain and reflects the commitment of the Ugandan government and its partners to ensuring the quality and safety of agricultural products for international consumers.” 

The decision is a positive move towards increasing trade relations between Uganda and EU member states and is expected to lead to more investment in the agricultural sector of the country. Ugandan farmers, who have been working on improving the quality of the peppers, have expressed satisfaction with the lifting of the ban and are ready to increase production in response to the new development.

“We welcome the news of the lifting of the restrictions on Uganda’s pepper exports to the EU. This is a sign that when the public and private sector work together on regulatory oversight and self-monitoring and when the private sector observes the SoPs a lot can be achieved. We must however remain vigilant so that we do the same for all FFV exports and not just at point of entry but also at exit points. We thank the NPPO and the private sector for giving us this early Xmas gift and we pledge our commitment to play our role as we rebuild the export so it can boost exports, jobs and incomes.” Fred Zake, Executive Director Hortifresh Association Uganda remarked.

For the EU consumers, the move also means access to a versatile ingredient, peppers, in their diet and presents a crop of potential trade opportunities that speaks to the benefits of globalisation and open trade.

Despite the ban lift, the EU has upheld its stringent standards to protect its consumers, warranting continued vigilance from Ugandan farmers to ensure their produce continues to meet the required regulations.

The lifting of the ban on Ugandan peppers by the EU is a win-win situation for both Uganda and the EU, as it leads to increased trade, reinforces the benefits of international cooperation, and contributes to the growth of the agricultural sector of Uganda.

Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) applauded all the agencies, public and private, that have been working hard to achieve this milestone. “PACEID is delighted about the European Union lifting the ban on Ugandan peppers. This decision is a testament to the tremendous efforts made by our farmers and exporters in meeting international quality standards. This will open up new markets for Ugandan peppers in Europe, a region known for its high demand & premium prices.” Rwabwogo noted.

The removal of these restrictions is expected to enhance market access for Ugandan peppers in the European Union, contributing to increased export opportunities and economic growth for the country. The Ministry encourages all stakeholders in the pepper industry to maintain the high standards that have led to this favorable decision and to continue working towards the sustainability and growth of the sector.

Read More
WhatsApp Image 2023-12-05 at 23.59.59_99cbb9c7

MDAs Commit Support to PACEID’s TradeXchange Digital Platform for Exports

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 convened several ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to discuss the TradeXchange, a digital export transformation platform being developed by Technology Associates at their offices along Yusuf Lule Road, Plot 23 in Kampala. The MDAs overwhelmingly pledged full support to the TradeXchange Platform that is key for Digitalization and growth of Uganda’s exports.

The orientation meeting with the MDAs was facilitated by PACEID so that Technology Associates could provide an update on the progress made thus far and to share a detailed plan, including the objectives, schedule, methodology and tool to be used during the Needs Assessment and requirements Gathering phase for stakeholder feedback and buy-in.

The key stakeholders in the meeting included officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Hortifresh (FFV) Association Uganda and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC).

Technology Associates Chairman Girisch Nair explaining how TradeXchange works

TradeXchange seeks to help exporters simplify trade processes and navigate complex procedures and regulations. Through this platform, Ugandan businesses will be able to connect with buyers and sellers worldwide, find competitive pricing and product opportunities, and submit and track electronic trade documents. All of these processes are streamlined using technology, resulting in time and cost savings for businesses turning to export.

The platform is intended to make a significant impact on the export industry in Uganda, as it tackles some of the most common barriers that local businesses face in the international market.

During the meeting, Technology Associates Chairman Girisch Nair highlighted TradeXchange’s potential to transform the entire Ugandan export industry, boosting the country’s export performance, and ultimately contributing to the country’s economic growth. He further emphasized the importance of support from MDAs in this process. “We need to come together as a nation to use TradeXchange to harness great technologies and move exports forward. This is very important as we embark on this project” stated Girisch Nair. He appreciated PACEID led by Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo for current strategies already being implemented to incentivize export-oriented businesses and initiatives.

PACEID’s Matthew Bagonza expressed gratitude to MDAs for their support on the project

Matthew Bagonza, PACEID Head of Administration/Operations expressed gratitude towards the MDAs and the private sector stakeholders for responding to the invitations to attend the orientation workshop. He asked NITA-U to provide guidance during this journey so as to avoid making mistakes. “We hope to establish an advanced sustainable national digital platform and ecosystem to manage Uganda’s trade activities across borders.”

Bagonza informed the meeting that Rwabwogo was unable to attend because he is currently out of the country on a similar cause making a case for Uganda’s exports. “Chairman is passionate about trade and exports in particular. He wants to improve our export earnings and is urging exporters to embrace the use of technology”.

Uganda has a target of USD 6bn in the next five years as export revenues across key products in selected markets.

PACEID Executive Committee member Mahmood Hudda

PACEID Executive Committee Member Mahmood Hudda presented the Digitalization Master Strategy to the MDAs stating that its implementation will not only be crucial for Ugandan SMEs but also for larger exporters looking to expand their market reach. ”The collaboration between PACEID, Technology Associates and MDAs will be vital to ensure that TradeXchange fulfills its potential as a driver of economic growth for the Ugandan business community.”

Dr. Paul Mwambu, Commissioner- Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF welcomed the initiative noting that the engagement was good and timely adding that the ministry is looking forward to working with PACEID and Technology Associates to make TradeXchange a reality. “This platform will certainly improve our market access. Traceability will be better because we shall have actual data. This digitization process makes so much sense and speaks to all the challenges we are facing in export. I applaud Technology Associates and PACEID. MAAIF fully endorses what you have put on ground”.

Dr. Paul Mwambu, Commissioner-Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF

He however cautioned that there must be due diligence. “This will help to know the key importers and exporters and what has been traded. Such information is required for us to make informed decisions regarding trade.”

Dr. Mwambu urged members to embrace the digital era as it reduces risks of forgery involving paper work saying that since going digital with E-phyto, interceptions have reduced by 97%.

Andreas Nocolaides, CEO- Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd suggested that the developers of TradeXchange be sensitive when it comes to data collection as the data belongs to the farmers. “This is an amazing opportunity to have uniformity for brand Uganda. Transparency will transform our economy.” he expressed.

Andreas Nicolaides, Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd CEO and Founder

Godson Mwesigye, Ag. Assistant Commissioner, Uganda Revenue Authority- Customs pledged the tax body’s full support and requested that PACEID coordinates this project to ensure traders are abiding by the laws. “The integrity of our business people (exporters) must be checked. URA is here to fully support this project.”

NITA-U Director Collin Babirukamu reaffirmed their support and commitment to seeing platforms like TradeXchange succeed. “This TradeXchange project is a move in the right direction and it resonates with our E-single window. It will definitely help with export verification.”

Godson Mwesigye, Ag. Assistant Commissioner- URA-Customs

Samuel Kawalya, Senior Trade Information Executive at Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) emphasized the importance of the TradeXchange platform. “Companies do business but countries trade. We are ready to work together to ensure the country continues to do sustainable trade and also change the mentality of our business people and have a good reputation out there.”

The insights gathered during this workshop will be instrumental in guiding the project through its next phase as Technology Associates expressed its commitment to helping Ugandan exporters succeed in the international market.

L-R: Maria Bisamaza from PACEID, Atwine Loyce from Fresh Cuts Uganda Ltd and Andreas Nicolaides from Great Lakes Coffee Uganda Ltd

Other members in the meeting were; Mwanje John and Caroline Nankinga (both from MAAIF), Atwine Loyce from Fresh Cuts Uganda Ltd, Nsamba Taufeeq, Augustine Ssekyondwa (both from NITA-U), Steve Huges from Uganda Agribusiness Alliance, Maria Bisamaza, Allan Agaba, Jonathan Kaweesa, Joshua Magambo, Rowland Nkahebwa, Victor Mugasa (all from PACEID), Ajesh Sasi, S. Kaleeswaran, A. Balachandran, Naveen Kumar, Henry Tumusiime, Douglas Onyango, Suresh Thirumalaisany, Kwaiwia Humphrey and Resper Nyivuru (all from Technology Associates).

Read More