President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has assured Ugandans that the country has a ready market for their value-added products.
“If you do agriculture and then add value to your products through a processing factory, you will need a third step and that is market. If they don’t buy your products, then you’re going to lose out. Fortunately, as a country we have our own market, we have that of East Africa and Africa at large. Another good thing, we also have a ready market in Eastern Europe and China,” President Museveni said.
He explained that the new market of Eastern Europe and China is a unique one since they prefer buying already finished goods unlike the Western powers who exploit Africans by buying their raw materials at low prices.
“Instead of buying raw materials like how some Western countries have been doing, these people from Eastern Europe are willing to buy our finished goods. For instance, when it comes to our coffee, we sell it unprocessed at 2 US dollars per kilogram and the wise people process and add value to it and in turn, they sell it at 40 US dollars per kilogram,” President Museveni stated.
“I don’t want you to miss out on this chance. Those who are growing coffee, you grow, those adding value to it, do so and you get a share from the 40 US dollars. If the one running a factory here gets like 30 US dollars, it can prompt him to also increase the price of unprocessed coffee from the farm; instead of giving the farmer 2 US dollars, he can decide to give me 5 US dollars,” he added.
On the other hand, President Museveni urged Ugandans to get involved in commercial agriculture with “ekibaalo” (calculation) and also embrace government programs such as Parish Development Model (PDM) and Emyooga in order to enhance their household incomes.
“Now the youth who don’t want to engage in agriculture should undertake vocational and technical training. We have given the households PDM money, now the young ones who don’t want to soil themselves should acquire vocational skills. And through Emyooga, they will get working capital to push their enterprises,” he advised.
“The rich people should not go for PDM or Emyooga; they should go to Uganda Development Bank (UDB) for low interest loans which they may use to push their large scale agricultural ventures or want to start up factories.”
In a related story, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called upon the government and people of the Republic of Serbia to support Uganda’s flourishing agricultural sector.
He made the request while meeting a group of officials from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) led by Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo at Nakasero State Lodge.
He revealed that Uganda produces almost any agricultural commodity anyone can name on earth; ranging from fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products, nuts and grains as well as the essential vegetable oils.
“I’m delighted to introduce to you the organic, fresh in nutrients agricultural products from Uganda. Our products are grown on smallholder farms with very much care about the preparation because that is what we eat and it is also part of the heritages of families. They don’t do it just for business, they do it because that is their heritage which has now become commercially relevant,” the President told the government and consumers in the market of the Republic of Serbia.
H.E Museveni further disclosed that the country’s private sector is slowly introducing large commercial farming to feed the region and the world at large.
“We are only 45 million people but with the ability to feed 200 million people and more given the fertile lands and the increasing technical know-how of our young people,” he emphasized, adding that, “We are also in the large emerging market of East Africa and the greater African common market which is an area of 1.4 billion people now. In 10 years, the African market will be one of the largest in the world with the young people consuming more.”
President Museveni also thanked the President of Serbia His Excellency, Aleksandar Vucic for sending his Minister of Trade Hon. Tomislav Momirovic to Uganda to deliver a special message, inviting him to the Patriotic Republic of Serbia.
“I will be coming with a delegation of 60 companies and businesspeople who will bring you food and other products. We would like them to partner with your companies to invest more in the agriculture sector in Uganda,” he urged.
President Museveni was also happy to note that the Republic of Serbia had already expressed interest in Uganda’s pineapples, coffee, grains, flowers, dairy and banana products.
“We commit to offer you all incentives on land, taxes and access to the larger market of Africa,” he assured.
“We will continue to use the lasting relationships we have had with you and the former Yugoslavia Republic since 1963 when we opened the bilateral relations, to support each other. This will strengthen the cause of both our people, institutions and humanity.”
The President further requested that Uganda Airlines begins a partnership with Air Serbia so that the two establishments can fast track business, tourism and personal exchanges.
“I encourage you to utilise the trade hub which we have named Uganda Connect to make more orders for our products and to come and see our country. This trade hub is located at the Belgrade Waterfront. Please visit it regularly to have a taste of our foods and culture,” he said.
President Museveni also commended PACEID for promoting value addition, and marketing Uganda’s products abroad through fully harnessing the country’s industrial and export potential.
“I also thank the Trade representative for Uganda, Mr. Bratislav Stoiljkovic who has worked so hard to open a new bridge for trade and investment between Uganda’s and Serbia’s private sectors and helped to ensure that Uganda’s products come to your retail outlet,” he added.