Ugandan producers that target the export market have been advised to consider forming partnerships so as to meet the production demands of the international market.
This was said by the Minister of Trade, Amelia Kyambadde on Wednesday during the 2nd Exporters Annual Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
The Minister noted that many of the small sized businesses and producers meet constraints like inadequate funds and low production capacity which can be addressed through joint ventures.
“Quantity, quality and timelines have been the biggest challenges to our exports. For our exporters to get the required production quantities, they have to work as a group so as to be raise the capital required to produce bigger quantities and afford machinery for production,” the Minister said during the forum.
“The problem is – Ugandans love to work individually. But the export market isn’t easy without enough capital. The easy way to do it is identifying two or three companies producing similar products and doing business together,” she added.
She also urged business to submit their information to the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) database which then makes it easy for government to know which company exports what, and the kind of markets required.
Other constraints highlighted in the discussions related to standards, financing, branding, as well as skilling.
The Executive Director of UEPB, Elly Twineyo Kamugisha noted that government needs to provide affordable credit to exporters as commercial loans remain expensive especially for the long term loans.
On his part, Ben Manyindo who heads the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) stressed the need for investment in a national quality infrastructure – accreditation, metrology anf laboratories for product testing.
“Private sector standards are still a challenge. This includes packaging and branding. If you walk into a supermarket, what attracts you is how the products are packaged, not what is in there,” Manyindo said.
Government is looking to boost its export volumes in a bid to solve the existing trade imbalance. While exports have grown to USD 2.5 billion in 2016 compared to USD 0.5 billion in 1994, Uganda’s imports remain significantly high.
Coffee is still Uganda’s leading export, drawing in USD 371 million (latest figures), followed by Gold (USD 339 million), Tea (USD 72 million), Cement, Maize, Tobacco and Sugar.
The conference on Wednesday brought together government officials, policy makers and Ugandan exporters.