Uganda’s Commissioner for External Trade has confessed that the country lacks the capacity to certify natural organic products urging all exporters of natural organic products to bear with the high certification costs charged by European certifying bodies.
Silver Ojakol, who was speaking during the 3rd Annual Exporters Conference under the theme of Export Promotion, a key for industrialization and job creation added that unless the government institutes the Export Development Fund, they have little or nothing they can help regarding the high certification fees changed.
“Regarding the high certification fees charged by the European market to certify natural organic products, we have no intervention we can make.
“The option will be the Export Development Fund which we are still working on,” said Ojakol.
Ojakol was responding to an exporter who complained that for many years, he has failed to export his Avocado to the Netherlands because he has failed to pay $20,000 required in Europe as certification fees for organic products and another $20,000 needed as fair trade.
“Is there a way, the government of Uganda can subsidize for us the expensive certification fees for organic products in the European market? The exporter asked.
Meanwhile, at the same function, Uganda’s Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde was happy that due to the increase in quality and quantity of Uganda’s products, Super Markets in Uganda are selling over 50% locally manufactured or produced goods.
“This is a very good sign as we intensify our fight to reduce the trade deficit,” said Kyambadde.
Kyambadde said the trade balance is now at US$1.7b. Uganda’s total imports last year were at US$5.3b while exports stood at $3.6b. In 5 years, it is expected to grow to US$22b for Imports and US$15b for exports.
This is attributed to increased government imports for the big infrastructure projects like Oil Refinery, Pipeline, Power projects etc.
Kyambadde is however optimistic that the promotion of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda policy will be able to check any widening trade imbalance.
BY PAUL TENTENA