Ugandan fresh produce has for so long enjoyed European, East African, COMESA and lately the Arabian market especially Dubai, Oman and Qatar. When the Ugandan Embassy in Russia organised the first Uganda Expo in Moscow Russia in May 2019, Ugandans were exposed to a new and large market for the sale of their products.
Ugandan fresh produce exporters saw an opportunity to ship fresh produce directly to Moscow instead of UAE through Dubai. Icemark - Africa Ltd/FFP Ltd was one such exporter.
According to UN COMTRADE statistics, Uganda exported goods worth $5.4 million in 2018. The Russian market is worth $238 Billion. Coffee, tea and spices accounted for the most shares of Uganda's exports to this market fetching $3.2 million.
On Monday, Icemark - Africa Ltd/FFP Ltd flagged off their first ever direct shipment worth of 125 boxes of avocado to Moscow. The function was witnessed by Ms Brenda K. Opus UEPB together with the Managing Director of FFP Ltd Mr Kristjan and the buyer Mr Yevgeniy Semikov.
Mr Yevgeniy Semikov, a representative of a Russian based company was optimistic about the deal and expects the export volumes from FFP Ltd to Russia to grow to up to 20- tons a month. This subsequently will need constant supply from farmers and therefore improved incomes for the local farmers.
The MD Icemark - Africa Ltd/FFP Ltd said he was glad to break into the Russia market although it took a long time to finally make this shipment.
The documentation needed in Russia was so much but UEPB gave us the support; the logistics and connection to Russia and finding consistent suppliers are some of the challenges faced. He said Russia is a virgin market and he plans to export more products including Papaya, pineapple and Chillies.
Icemark - Africa Ltd/FFP Ltd also exports to Europe and UAE so getting into Russia is a good addition to their Market.
He believes training farmers on integrated farm operations will go a long way to improve the supply and quality of fresh produces. This will improve the way of handling fresh produce at farm level and hence reduce wastage and interception.