By Prossy Nandudu
Over 90% of fresh produce exporters to the EU market lack capital to invest in infrastructure needed to maintain standards. Standard products destined for the EU market should be free from chemical residues, no moths, well packaged and should arrive fresh to the final market place.
Products usually exported to the EU include fresh fruits and vegetables like Chilies, sweet paper, egg plants, foods like sweet potatoes, apple bananas among others.
This is according to James Kanyije, a fresh produce exporter and member of Hortifresh, a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. He added that failure to invest and adhere to standards, Ugandans will not benefit from the &76bn that EU spends while importing agricultural items.
He said although some companies had made strides in getting chemical free vegetables, the Covid 19 pandemic for them to maintain standards, they will need soft loans from the government. He added that most of the fresh produce exporters were hit hard by Covid 19 and are yet to recover.
With the soft loans they can reorganize their farm, pay farmers but also invest some in the clearance of contracts which usually takes 90 days, Kanyije added.
Apart from soft loans he also called for Business Development Advisory services (BDAs) so exporters to the EU can further understand the requirements needed for one to venture into such a market.