TradeMark East Africa, (TMEA) , a non-profit consultancy promoting regional trade, will spend $9m for highlighting agriculture as a way of increasing internal production and reduction trade deficiency.
According to TMEA Chief Executive Office, Frank Matsaert, the problem of the depreciating shilling against the US dollar is due to trade imbalances caused by a nation exporting less and importing far more.
He said this can be solved if governments and the private sector encourage more internal production and investments hence reducing on the amount of goods that are imported in Uganda.
“Agriculture remains the less exploited area that has potential to reverse the status of Uganda’s economy. Uganda is largely an agricultural based economy and if improvements are made in the local food and cash crop production, Uganda can become the greatest exporter of foodstuffs to the whole world and this will help Uganda to balance its import and export trade,” he told East African Business Week recently.
He said, “We are going to embark on an extensional plan to help farmers in modernizing agriculture and also focus on packaging by adding value to the agriculture goods so that they can compete favourably on the global market. We plan to invest over $9 million by 2016.”
He said lack of a regional standards bureau was also a handicap. “The national standard bureaux can remain in place in addition to one regional standard bureau that can actually sent the standards that these other bureaus can follow,” he said.
Allen Asiimwe, the TMEA Country Manager for Uganda said the plan to invest in agriculture is a follow up on helping small business owners and women, particularly those involved in agriculture. “We have been working with women and the plan to invest in the agriculture sector is a way of helping these women to earn more from the work they do every day. We want to help a common tomato seller find a way of crossing the border and find a bigger and more competitive market for her goods. This can only be done if barriers like poor standards of most of the products are eliminated. We intend to do this by educating farmers on improved methods of farming and packaging. We hope to see a real change in the agriculture sector and also in the general public by creating more jobs through the agriculture sector,” Asiimwe said.
Source : East African Business Week