Manufacturers reminded about packaging importance
September 19—Manufacturers in Uganda have been advised to form partnerships with producers of quality packaging materials if their products are to appeal to potential buyers in the global market.
Elly Twineyo, the Uganda Exports Promotion Board CEO said recently, “Consumers buy whatever attracts them and that’s the importance of packaging. Our local companies are small, some of the exporters are even individuals which has a bearing on the packaging they use,” he said.
He said, “The challenge is that they are still working individually, if the SMEs work together as a group and partner with a big packaging company, they can manage to negotiate for cheaper prices and long term working relationships.”
While speaking at a discussion on ‘Packaging for the 21st Century Consumer’ Twineyo said smaller businesses can still afford to produce high quality packaged products if they work jointly.
Majority of the local businesses are constrained by funding which affects the quality of their packaging and in the end lose out to competitors that have invested heavily. The government has been pushing the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy aimed at encouraging Ugandans to support locally made products as well as increase their shelf space in supermarkets.
However, many Ugandans argue that the issue of quality (in product and packaging) must be tackled if they are to prefer local products over imported ones. Twineyo said that poor packaging affects the price Ugandan products get and quality of those exported.
“Our products are largely sold to corner shops, but even then they are first repackaged. As we move towards selling big supermarkets, we shall have to ensure quality which takes packaging too,” Twineyo said.
Among other initiatives to emphasize quality, the UEPB has developed a Company Diagnostics and Export Readiness Assessment to prepare exporters for the world market.
A local food processing company Jakana Foods Limited, ( maker of fruit juices among other items), is looking to solve the packaging problems not only for itself, but the entire manufacturing industry in Uganda.
Having been suffered significant losses as a result of the hefty taxes (170%) she incured on importation of pouches (packaging materials), Meg Hilbert Jaquay, the Managing Director Jakana Foods decided to secure capital and invested in acquiring her own pouch making machine.
She said, “Shelf life is an important feature for the banana juice that we produce. There’s no commerce viability in something that lasts a day. So you have to know what kind of packaging you need to make it last a year.”