Uganda bans export of vegetables to European Union
The ban comes after looming threats that the European Union was about to ban the vegetables, which would have made it hard to regain access to the market.
The ministry of Trade, which announced the ban, noted that Ugandan fresh vegetables and fruits had failed to meet the EU's phyto-sanitary requirements.
Since February 2014, the European Union has been threatening to suspend Ugandan products such as flowers, vegetables and fruits, due to the use of banned chemicals and phyto-sanitary requirements.
Announcing the ban at Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), Amelia Kyambadde, the minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, said the one-month ban is to ensure Ugandan exporters put things right. She said if no action was taken, the country's horticulture products risked being banned from the EU market. The ban has taken immediate effect.
The affected product is red pepper, but Kyambadde said other fresh vegetables and fruits continued to get intercepted over quality issues, although they have not been banned.
Under the EU market, every imported item is checked to verify if it conforms to the set standards. Items that fall short of these standards are intercepted.
"If this matter is not addressed immediately, the European Union will impose a ban on Ugandan horticulture products," she said. At least 30 Ugandan companies have been affected by the interceptions.
She said the ban would enable government to strengthen its inspection system at Entebbe airport, the main transit point, increase the number of inspectors, and also undertake an audit of exporters and their farmers. Other measures taken include: registering all exporters together with their farmers. ■