31 January 2017

Uganda: EU Tightens Border Controls on Uganda's Vegetable Exports

The European Union has issued an alert to heighten its border control on Uganda's sesame and eggplant exports, Prosper Magazine has learnt.

The alert regulation which was issued at the beginning of last month and enforced effective January 1, indicates an increase of tresses of Salmonella - a bacteria which cause food poisoning in Sesame exports to the European Union (EU). While higher tresses of pesticides residue was found in eggplants (vegetables).

According to information from the official journal of the EU signed by the Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, in part, said: "In particular, for consignments of sesame seeds and aubergines from Uganda, the relevant sources of information indicate the emergence of new risks requiring the introduction of an increased level of official controls."

"Entries concerning those consignments should therefore be included in the list," the alert mentioned.

Speaking to this newspaper, Mr John Lwere, the export promotion officer, Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), said: "There is a directive from the UK indicating that they have increased their border controls to ensure that the mentioned commodities meet the required health standards."

The regulation also cites commodities from other countries like groundnuts and derived products originating from Bolivia, pineapples from Benin, table grapes from Egypt and pomegranates from Turkey.

The alert also directed that the list should also be amended by increasing the frequency of official controls for the commodities for which the available information shows a higher degree of non-compliance with the relevant Union legislation, thereby warranting an increased level of official controls.

Experts say increased border controls by UK on the respective commodities mentioned means that exporters will be laborious and cases of rejection will go up.

Statistics

Latest market information from the UEPB indicates that in 2015 the country exported 8361 tonnes of sesame worth $13.3 million (Shs47 billion). This indicated an 18.5 per cent increase from 6806 tonnes worth $12.4 million (Shs44.6 billion) exported the previous year 2014.

Mr Lwere said the other countries where Uganda's sesame is demanded include Singapore, Netherlands, Turkey, Denmark and Switzeland.

Experts say Uganda is ranked the 15th global producer by volume.

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