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Gov’t Positive on Outcome of EU Agriculture Exports Audit

Agriculture Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja told Journalists in Kampala on Friday that the European Union conducted an audit on Uganda’s agriculture exports chain starting from production, transportation and packaging among others, last month, for which a report is still awaited.
Minister for Agriculture Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja Addressing Journalists in Kampala

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Uganda can still export its agricultural produce to the European Union market despite a yellow card warning issued by the bloc over severe chemical contamination of horticulture exported by farmers. 

Agriculture Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja told Journalists in Kampala on Friday that the European Union conducted an audit on Uganda’s agriculture exports chain starting from production, transportation and packaging among others, last month, for which a report is still awaited.  

The audit was intended to ensure compliance to international and European Union Health standards. It also sought to establish whether Uganda has started implementing animal registration or put in place mechanisms to track farmer compliance to international standards for among others determining the age of livestock destined for exports to Europe. In the event of noncompliance, the EU bloc would then consider a ban on Ugandan agricultural produce.  

The Minister, however, says that a wrap up of the audit indicated that Uganda is safe as long as it meets the sanitary requirements of its products.  The Minister explains that the audit also emphasized necessary training, clustering and technological registration of farmers.

//Cue in; “They need to…    

Cue out...markets anywhere.”//   

Luganda //Cue in; “So twagala okuba… 

Cue out…banaffe bana Uganda.”// 

According to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), 80 per cent of Uganda’s total exports consists of agricultural products with the most important commodity being coffee (22 per cent of total exports) followed by tea, cotton, copper, oil and fish.   

Earlier in August, Ssempijja said the EU has already indicated to the government that some of the tests it conducted in Europe discovered the presence of harmful drugs such as marijuana in some of the cabbages imported from Uganda. 

Back then, he explained that Marijuana was found attached inside the cabbage heads, leading experts to conclude that farmers intentionally placed the illicit drugs during the early head formation for the leafy vegetable to naturally enclose them before maturity. 

The discussion came ahead of the Agribusiness Matchmaking Expo and Disruptive Agricultural Technological (DAT) Innovation Challenge scheduled to take place next week in Kampala. The event is to facilitate the implementation of the Government of Uganda’s Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP). 

The project valued at USD 150 million will be implemented in 57 districts, where farmers who are engaged in growing and trading in maize, beans, cassava, rice and coffee will be supported to access subsidized inputs using an electronic voucher (e-voucher) system and grants for post-harvest and value addition facilities, among others. 

The Expo, according to Ssempijja, will be a one-stop-shop where farmer Organizations will have access to vetted suppliers of equipment matched to the specific needs outlined in their business plans.

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