Hot pepper

An initial export ban had been imposed in the month of April so as to re-train up to 60,000 farmers and over 50 exporters to prevent and to detect produce affected by harmful organisms in line with stringent European Union (EU) phytosanitary (plant health) requirements.

A technical working group that comprises of the trade and agriculture ministries is clearing dealers for export on a case by case basis. So far 21 companies have been cleared for re-export and 32 are yet to be certified. During the ban, the agriculture ministry is carrying out round the clock inspections of hot pepper exports at the Airport.

Amelia Kyambadde, the trade minister says the export ban could be stretched till August. Speaking to reporters at the Media Center, she said: ?There have been challenges and we intend to take another month.?

Hadijah Nakakande, the trade ministry spokesperson noted that consignments of 2 of the cleared exports had been detected with the false codling moth and their certification revoked.

Hitherto, up to 28 consignments from Uganda had been discovered with harmful organisms in Brussels since January 2015 leading to the April ban. In normal days, without an export ban, a total 38 metric tonnes of hot pepper worth ?142,500 (sh735m) are exported to Europe every week.

The self-imposed ban is meant to forestall an indefinite EU ban that would cost the country $63.9m (sh210b) in annual revenues.

By Samuel Sanya, The New Vision


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