Ugandan farmer to export garlic to South Africa

A worker packages exports. In Uganda, a kilogramme of local garlic ranges from Shs6,000 to Shs10,000. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • $23m Imports. Uganda imports garlic worth $23 million annually from China.

Fort Garlic Farm – the Ugandan producer and supplier of garlic, has signed a multi-million deal to export garlic to South Africa. 

The chief executive officer/Director of Fort Garlic Farm, Frank Banks Muhumuza signed the export deal with the executive director of the Durban based Fuzeni Trading Enterprise (Pty) Limited, Nothile Ngcobo at the recently concluded second edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 that was held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, where deals worth $36 billion have been recorded so far. 

“We have signed a one year-long contract to supply a 40-feet container with 26 tonnes of garlic every two weeks to South Africa. Each container will be worth $87,532. We are going to ship our first consignment in February next year,” Muhumuza told this publication. 

Uganda’s Acting High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa, Ambassador Kintu Nyago and his staff led a team of Ugandan companies that participated in IATF 2021.

In conjunction with the senior export marketing executive (products and services) from the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) Brenda Katarikawe Opus, the Commission coordinated a group of interested Ugandan companies which included: the textiles company Southern Range Nyanza Limited (Nytil), Lunas Enterprises (U) Limited – manufacturers of all types of sweaters and Fort Garlic Farm. 

“There isn’t anyone who hasn’t loved my sweaters because of their quality and uniqueness. They are think and in different designs and colours. They are good for all seasons in places like South Africa,” the managing director, Lunas Enterprises (U) Limited, Lucia Namubiru told Daily Monitor.

“We are exporting Nytil products to South Sudan, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. We are thinking of getting a market here in South Africa as well,” the Nytil sales manager, Arsu S. Mudaliar said.

“We have seen a lot of interest for our coffee. One of the strategies was to have coffee tasting for the visitors to our pavilion to taste our original taste and strong aroma. The taste is rich with a natural appeal,” Opus said. 

“Another attraction was been our Uganda Waragi gin. The visitors appreciated its taste and the uniqueness in its scent,” Opus added.

Cost
According to Opus, the visitors also picked up interest in Ugandan garlic. In South Africa, garlic is very expensive with a kilogramme going for 180 ZAR ($11.3). In Uganda, a kilogramme of local garlic ranges from Shs6, 000  to Shs10,000 ($1.6 – 2.7). 

“The traders are looking for garlic imports from Uganda, and how to the transfer the knowledge of growing the herb to South Africa. Its medicinal value has been accelerated by the increased uptake of herbal concoctions for the treatment of Covid-19.” 

In South Africa, the cost of garlic is almost 5 times in Uganda per kilogramme, Muhumuza says. “The supply in South Africa is from China. The aroma and sweetness of the garlic from China isn’t as good as that from Uganda. Uganda imports garlic worth $23 million annually from China.”

“As a company we have also got the opportunity to train South African and Swaziland farmers on how to grow garlic by the end of next year. There are very few farmers growing garlic in South Africa,” Muhumuza said. 

“We recruited one thousand garlic farmers and approached the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) several times for support and proved to them the huge market potential of garlic in East Africa and they frustrated us.

They never gave us seeds or any support hence frustrating the farmers,” Muhumuza says. “Instead of government concentrating on maize and beans it should give a helping hand to a group of garlic farmers, who are going in number. And we shall see the lives of farmers transformed. Garlic is a high value crop, it is like vanilla.” 

Commercial garlic 

“This is to bring to your attention the great opportunity of commercial garlic farming in Uganda. In Uganda, we import 99.9 percent fresh garlic from China a market of $23 million annually an equivalent to 19,166,666.7 kilogrammes. China is the world largest garlic producer and exporter, exporting annually $2.6 billion,” Fort Garlic Farm’s recent concept plan to the executive director of National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) that the Daily Monitor has seen dated September 14, 2021, titled “Garlic markets, concept of scaling up commercial garlic farming production in Uganda to increase wealth and job creation” reads in part. 

According to the concept plan, “In East Africa, we import garlic worth $279.1 million annually. Kenya imports $42 million , Tanzania $36 million, Rwanda $5.0 million, Burundi $3.1 million, South Sudan $23.0 million, North Sudan $53.0 million, Somalia $22.0 million and Democratic Republic of Congo $72.0 million.” 

“Fort Garlic Farm has 600 garlic farmers across Uganda that we supply with seeds of the herb and later buy from them to supply our market,” Muhumuza says. “We are producing 400 tonnes per year. If we can recruit more farmers we shall have more produce.” 

“In Uganda, we have two seasons of garlic farming, February/March planting and harvesting in July/August. The other is September/October planting, and harvest in January/February. These two seasons can facilitate the growing of this crop. This sector can employ one million farmers and even do better that China and India but we need support from government.”


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