Uganda spends about $105m (Shs367b) every month in transport costs to import rice from Pakistan, yet this money could improve the welfare of Ugandans, an outgoing minister has said.
While signing off a farming partnership between rice farmers in the country and Kingdom Rice, a new rice milling factory on Tuesday in Namanve Industrial Park, outgoing State minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra said Uganda has no reason to continue being ranked among poor countries of the world because the money Uganda loses to purchase and transport food like rice that can be locally grown here, explains the amount of money we waste as a country.
“Last week at the World Economic Forum, it was noted that in 2020, there is going to be a global food crisis and interestingly, Uganda was mentioned among the six countries in the world which can avert it if only they fixed their agricultural systems,” he said.
Cost of transport
Explaining the Shs367b bill, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) commissioner customs field services Stephen Magera, who attended the meeting said every month, URA receives 300,000 metric tonnes of rice imported from Pakistan and another 25,000 metric tonnes from Tanzania yet the cost of transporting a metric tonne of rice together with other logistical arrangement is $350 (Shs1.2m) without the actual cost of the rice.
On the same day, Uganda Development Bank and Kingdom Rice signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which the bank is going to capitalise the rice company to help it raise rice production in the country.