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Building the capacity of Ugandan organic exporters to access the UK market

Duration: 
2011 - 2012
The agriculture of Uganda is almost entirely organic, and the climate is conducive to growing a range of successful crops. The year-round equable, level warm-to-high temperatures and two rainy seasons make for ideal growing conditions for a wide range of crops. The organic market in the UK of $US 2.25 billion is large and ready to take more produce from Uganda. However, linkages between the production potential of the country with the organic market is not fully developed.

There are a number of constraints:

  • The limited capacity of the Ugandan processors and exporters who typically have a turnover of between one half and one million US$;
  • Due to the country’s geography, the lack of a port in the country limits the to medium to long-term shelf life of products;
  • As a relatively small number of buyers dominate the food retailing industry in the UK, they exercise a high level of power that can disenfranchise Ugandan suppliers;
  • Constraints arising from EU/UK import regulations and constraints arising from EU/UK organic regulations
Commonwealth response: 

Following a request for assistances by the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) through the Ministry of Trade to enhance market access capacity of organic agriculture produce to the UK market, the Secretariat conducted a Market Access study. A detailed Export Marketing Plan was developed.  Short, medium and long-term strategies that should be put in place to improve the country’s export capacity were recommended. An action plan – including a budget – was developed to enable Ugandan exporters to increase their share of organic agriculture produce to UK. Capacity of the exporters was enhanced. A Buyer/Seller forum was held in London and Bristol to enable Ugandan exporters establish commercial contacts with UK retailers and buyers of organic produce.

Result: 

As direct result of this intervention, brand awareness of Ugandan organic products in the UK has increased. Ugandan exporters who attended the buyer/seller forum managed to establish good marketing and commercial contracts with UK retailers and buyers. For instance one UK buyer placed an order for 100 tons of dried organic ginger. A group of Ugandan exporters managed to secure orders for organic vanilla. Soil Associations in the UK agreed to form a partnership with NOGAMU and provide investment to further develop the organic sector in Uganda. Capacity building workshops enhanced Ugandan organic exporters’ ability to access the UK market, particularly on aspects relating to packaging, promotion and marketing.

Partners: 

National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU)