Uganda gets Dutch know-how to limit bugs in $100m exportsThe Minister said the commodities mainly affected are; Capsicum (peppers), Annona (Kitafeli) and roses while the pest problem is the False Codling Moth (FCM).
April 10—The Netherlands Embassy in Kampala is helping the agriculture ministry limit rising cases of non-compliance with sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards in a bid to protect the annual $100 million fruits and vegetable exports to the European Union, North America and the Middle East.
“The country stands to lose this important market for our flowers, fruits and vegetables (FFVs) exports if the business people do not adhere to the set standards. The commodities mainly affected are Capsicum (peppers), Annona (Kitafeli) and roses while the pest problem is the False Codling Moth (FCM),” agriculture minister, Vincent Ssempijja said early this week.
According to the Ministry, there is still room for more growth and expansion to new markets for fruits and vegetables in the region and the Middle East. In a well managed approach, existing exports for fruits, vegetables and flowers could be increased by at least ten times with sufficient investment.
He said, “The World Trade Organisation Standard Trade Development Facility (STDF) together with the Royal Netherlands Embassy are providing technical assistance to the Ministry and within the next six months we expect a downward trend of interceptions due to FCM.”
Other counter measures include procurement of equipment for analyzing pesticide residues to support export certification for compliance of pesticide residues.
Ssempijja said, “I appointed a national task force comprised of both private sector and my technical staff to specifically guide compliance for fruits and vegetable exports, guide on development of strategies to ensure Uganda products maintain the current markets, but also penetrate new niche markets.”
The Ministry will also stop clearance of export consignments of each exporter with more than one interception due to FCM pest or Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).
Climate change coupled with long dry spells with scattered open production sites have been cited as reasons for the escalated pest incidence in greenhouses.
Ssempijja said the pest in question has a very wide range of hosts (80) which makes controlling it very difficult.
He said the use of smallholder farmers scattered over a large area in open fields, as opposed to production in greenhouses, is also a point of concern.