Museveni appeals to UK business community to stock Ugandan food products

President Yoweri Museveni has appealed to the business community in the United Kingdom to open their market to goods from Uganda as a way of helping the country to grow out of poverty. Mr Museveni on Tuesday wrote a letter to British Retailers and Wholesalers Association, where he outlined the assistance that the community can extend to the citizens of Uganda. 

In the letter, also published in the New Vision newspaper of the same day, the President states that his government is working towards helping Ugandans live a decent life and in so doing has committed efforts towards increasing productivity of its citizens. He explains that trade is a tool for positive change, stability and wealth of all humanity. “This is the reason our government takes an inclusive stand on all aspects of the national life. The best way to close this chapter is to help raise the overall productivity of the Ugandan citizen so as to change their social classes and end poverty,” Mr Museveni writes.

He lists a number of products which the business community in Britain should focus on, placing emphasis on agricultural output. “This is why I am appealing to you to allow in larger quantities of Ugandan fruits and other vegetables, flowers, beef, fish, dairy products, grains, coffee, honey on your shelves and for your consumers’ variety.” 

Uganda produces a lot of fruit and vegetables, but only exports a small percentage of total production, mainly due to high levels of food waste, high quality standards in the foreign markets, consumer preference for legacy fruit varieties, and lack of investments in value-addition facilities. Because of these reasons, 70% to 80% of Ugandan fruit never makes it to the market.

Government has recently launched deliberate efforts to make choice improvements as a way of boosting the country’s fruit and vegetable exports. 

In his letter to the British community, Mr Museveni states that his government is working hard to improve quality of output to meet international standards. “We are working hard to ensure all our food and trade standards meet the international criteria,” he states. 

He also states that his government will support exporters to the UK with a credit facility to allow them fulfil the orders they receive. He adds that Uganda is working with the UK export fund to improve its export infrastructure at the border and entry points for easier trade. 

Mr Museveni further states that the country desires to share its delicious food with the whole world. “Uganda foods are very good and very unique because of our altitude. I don’t know why our bananas are the best in the world.” 

Mr Museveni, through the same letter announced the appointed of Mark Pursey, the CEO of international PR firm BTP Advisers, as Uganda’s trade representative in the UK. The London-based BTP Advisors is a multi-award-winning international communications agency that advises leaders and governments, candidates and parties, and entrepreneurs and organizations on campaigns to change hearts and minds of citizens. The firm has offices in various countries including in Kampala, Uganda. 

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