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Uganda: Fruit farmers call on government to provide supportUganda is known for producing some of the sweetest fruits, but according to some farmers it is losing its edge in the face of financial challenges. They want the government to intervene, or Ugandan farmers will be unable to meet growing demands.
James Kanyije, the managing director of K.K Fresh produce exporters said,
“Farmers are unable to produce the quantities in line with demand orders and this leads to the loss of trust in export markets,”
Kanyije pointed out that fruits like pineapples, oranges, and vegetables such as hot pepper, and egg plants, among others, remain in high demand.
Florence Kata, the executive director of the Uganda Export Promotion Board, has stated that the demand for Ugandan produce is likely to increase by 21% this year largely, she claims, as a result of her groups marketing activities. However, she too points out that farmers will be significantly challenged in meeting such a demand.
Farmers say the government needs to act. The want to see lower tariffs on agricultural inputs such as vegetable seeds, pesticides, and farming tools like tractors. They also want the government-supported Uganda Industrial Research Institute to develop simple technologies that add value to their produce.
The government has announced a raft of measures to support the agricultural sector – which employs three quarters of the country's workers – in this year’s national budget. Government cut import taxes on components, parts and inputs for assembly of refrigerators and freezers from 25% to 10% to assist storage and also announced a Shs 30bn Agricultural Credit Facility, where farmers can access cheaper loans.
Publication date: 2/3/2012
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