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Uganda: Horticulturalists petition Parliament over extortion by officials

Farmers and exporters of fruits and vegetables want the Ministries of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and that of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives to weigh in on disruptive officials.

According to Aguse Kalimba, grower and exporter of hot pepper to the European market, officials at the Agriculture Ministry continue to show less interest in promoting quality and concentrate on acquiring commissions.

Kalimba observed that officials, who need to inspect farms for crop quality assurance, often charged over UGX.600,000 and do not issue any certification documentation.

Francis Mawejje, an exporter of fruits and vegetables said there were undocumented inspection and facilitation fees paid to inspectors of goods much of which goes un-receipted. “We know that we are tax-free as per Government regulations on exporting, but these are fees that have been created by individuals in the Agriculture Ministry,” Mawejje said.

He called on Parliament to prevail and have investigations of the officials and bring them to book, ‘so as to check on the bureaucracies affecting the export of fruits and vegetables from Uganda’.

According to¸ the concerns were raised in a meeting with the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga who received a petition from farmers and exporters of fruits and vegetables on Tuesday, 18 February 2020. Presenting the petition, Hasifah Tushabe, the project coordinator for the Horticulture Promotion Organization of Uganda said that they are also faced by challenges of management of pests and diseases.

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