PRESS STATEMENT ON PHYTOSANITARY/ END-MARKET STANDARDS COMPLIANCE
THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
TALKING NOTES FOR
MINISTERFOR AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL INDUSTRY AND FISHERIES
THE PRESS BRIEFING ON PHYTOSANITARY/ END-MARKET STANDARDS FOR COMPLIANCE FOR HORTICULTURAL EXPORTS FROM UGANDA
09TH APRIL 2019
MEDIA CENTRE, KAMPALA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to join you today, to give an update on the phytosanitary status for compliance for the horticultural export products from Uganda to the European Union and other market destinations.
Ugandacontinues to enjoy a significant share in export volumes worth100 million US Dollars (Ug.Shs 370 billion), per year, for roses, fruits and vegetables to the European Union (EU) block, North America and the Middle East. There is stillmore room for growth and expansion to new potential markets for fruits and vegetables in the region and the Middle East,if well managed, existing exports for fruits, vegetables and flowers (FFVs) could be increased by at least ten times with sufficient investment. However, currently, Uganda is experiencing declines in export earnings from some of these commodities, due to non-compliance with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards.
Presence of Harmful organisms and excess pesticide residues are the major causes of these rejections.
Under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and the World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (WTO-SPS) of which Uganda is a signatory, the fore mentioned gaps are a responsibility of private sector (the business people).
The country stands to lose this important market for our flowers, fruits and vegetables exports if the business people do not adhere to the set standards. The commodities mainly affected are three; Capsicum (peppers), Annona (Kitafeli) and Roses and the pest problem is the False Codling Moth (FCM).
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO INCREASE OF INTERCEPTIONS OF UGANDAN FLOWERS, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ON THE EU MARKET
1. Climate change coupled with long dry spells with scattered open production sites has escalated pest incidence (Green houses);
2. The pest in question has a very wide range of hosts (80), makes controlling it very difficult;
3. The use of smallholder farmers scattered over a large area in open fields, as opposed to production in greenhouses;
ACTIONS TAKEN BY MAAIF
My ministry has put in place rigid and serious interventions to avert and protect our export market through the following measures.
• I appointed a national task force comprised of both private sector and my technical staff to specifically guide compliance for F&Vs exports, guide on development of strategies to ensure Uganda products maintain the current markets, but also penetrate new niche markets.
• Communication channels between MAAIF and the EU have been streamlined. There have been various meetings with the EU including a video conference was held on Thursday 28th March 2019, involving the EU delegation to Uganda, Director General Plant Health in Brussels, EU Auditors, and my Staff and another meeting in Rome last week.
• The World Trade Organisation Standard Trade Development Facility (STDF) together with the Royal Netherlands Embassy are providing technical assistance to Ministry and within the next six months we expect a downward trend of interceptions due to FCM.
• The Ministry is planning to procure equipment for analyzing pesticide residues to support export certification for compliance of pesticide residues.
• Stop clearance of export consignments of each exporter with more than one interception due to FCM pest or Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs);
• Capacity building of exporting companies, to comply with the market requirements of destination markets;
• Further develop and strengthen the online certification system with enhanced security features, train both users and exporters importers and inspectors in e- certification procedures.
• A road map agreed between MAAIF and the EU had been prepared which details the key actions to be undertaken to achieve a downward trend in interceptions;
• Put in place incentives and sanctions including blacklisting those exporters who remain errant and enforcing traceability mechanisms in the sector
Finally, Ladies and gentlemen, agricultural transformation largely depends on the proper approach to value chain development, considering the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders along the value chain. If all stake holders play their part, Uganda’s endowments to produce flowers, fruits and vegetables for export will be enhanced, thus fulfilling the Government’s aspirations of revitalizing the horticulture industry.
I urge the strategic stakeholders present here to advocate for increased engagement to harness Uganda’s well-positioned and strategic investment potential. This will lead to Increased household incomes, increased foreign exchange and wider employment coverage.
I therefore thank the Netherlands Embassy for their keen interest and continued cooperation with the Ministry, World Trade Organisation, Standards Trade Development Facility (WTO STDF), Uganda Flowers Exporters’ Association (UFEA), the private sector, in improving the phytosanitary and quarantine Inspection Services of Uganda.
We are taking all these necessary steps with the guidance of the Vision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries which is “A Competitive, Profitable and Sustainable Agricultural Sector.”
I thank you
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempjja (MP)
Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.