Vegetable and fruit farmers should take advantage of UK’s quota free market access, according to High Commissioner Kate Airy.
While discussing how Uganda and the United Kingdom can harmonise trade in Kampala, Ms Airy said that whereas data from Food and Agricultural Organisation shows that Uganda produces some of the best organic fruits and vegetables, it trades very little of its products with the UK due to lack of knowledge.
“Uganda trades very little agricultural produce with the UK despite being eligible for quota free duty access to Britain. This might be because farmers have little knowledge of the duty free access,” she said, noting that it was important that Uganda improves its agricultural sector to boost exports, particularly to UK.
However, exporters, among them vegetable and fruit producers, recently said they were encountering difficulties in accessing the UK market, forcing exports to one of Uganda’s biggest export destinations in Europe drop by almost 90 per cent.
The decline came as UK completed the exit from European Union - which, according to exporters - had presented them with the challenge of dealing with the country as a single market away from the EU bloc.
Mr James Kanjigye, the chief executive officer of KK Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, said recently that whereas goods had been reaching Europe, entering UK had become difficult.
“Our experience entering UK from other EU countries has been cumbersome. At border [points] there are no testing facilities and documentation. Because of this we are losing a lot of produce [destined for] UK,” he said, noting that before Brexit, they had been using Belgium as the entry to Europe from where goods are supplied to other countries in the bloc through Metros (trains).
In 2016, UK voted in a referendum to leave EU and officially left the trading bloc on January 30.
However, Ms Airy noted that UK was doing a lot of projects to improve trade with other countries, among which include signing an agreement with Uganda Airlines to start direct flights to the country.