Experts have asked the government to support farmers to add value to their products. They argued that most of Uganda’s exports, especially in agriculture are raw but once value is added, they can fetch higher prices on the regional and global markets.
They argued that most of Uganda’s exports, especially in agriculture are raw but once value is added, they can fetch higher prices on the regional and global markets.
According to Jane Nalunga, the country director of Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI Uganda. “we do not add value to our agricultural products, the prices remain low in fact, this is what President Yoweri Museveni has always talked about. For instance, malze prices severely fell to shtoo-sh150, but once some value addition is done, the prices increase.”
In 2016, Uganda exported about 534,800 tonnes of grains worth $253m. However, with value addition, experts think the market base for the produce can be boosted. This was during a two-day annual meeting for regional institutions and agro-businesses, organised by SEATINI in conjunction with CUTS International, in Kampala on Tuesday.
Jennifer Gache, a senior industrial engineer in the Industrial Development department at East African Community (EAC) secretariat, highlighted the need for the partner states to facilitate intra-regional trade. East Africa currently is a market for products made from other countries yet some of them can be manufactured within. The governments should create enabling environments in terms of policies and infrastructure for private sector business to thrive,” Gache said. She, however, commended the EAC for the efforts in developing trade infrastructure such as the Standard Gauge Railway, roads and extension of electricity among others.
John Walugembe, a business development specialist, said low or no value addition in agricultural produce accounts for the low sector’s contribution to the economy of the country.
Michael Werikhe, the state minister for trade, said the Government is currently supporting small-holder agro based industries with equipment with the aim of enhancing value addition.
”We no longer support exporting raw materials. We want people to export value addition to products for export,” he stated.