Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has been advised to take advantage of the zero tariff policy on all agricultural produce in the European Union bloc in order to develop the sector.
The advice was given by the Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Uganda Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, at the beginning of a four-day retreat bringing together envoys from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, The Kingdom of Netherlands and Sweden. The retreat is taking place at Mt. Elgon Hotel, Mbale.
The envoys held a closed door meeting with Mbale District Chairman Bernard Mujasi and Chief Administrative Officer Esau Ekachelan, in which they discussed a need to improve the quality of coffee produced in the Eastern region and difficulties faced in drawing maximum benefits from the produce.
Ambassador Pacific noted that Europe offers a unique opportunity to allow better export of agriculture because of its zero-tariff policy, something that Uganda and the other African partners need to take advantage of to export their products in all quantities without any tariff.
Pacifici, however, said that the limit to these local entrepreneurs is grabbing the opportunity and also meeting the market demand.
The Belgian Ambassador to Uganda, Rudi Veestraeten said that trade is an important field of cooperation between Uganda and the European Union (EU) and that coffee alone is a key produce which can be improved to attract a huge benefit to the farmers and the country’s economy.
Rudi said that coffee should be a key focus of Uganda’s partnership with the European Union and that it is something they continue to discuss with the President about.
Mbale District Chairman Bernard Mujasi observed a need for a coffee processing plant in Mbale to process instant Arabica coffee.
The EU ambassadors also engaged the district security officials including the District Police Commander, Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and others in a closed-door meeting. They are also scheduled to meet the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders in the district this evening before meeting the Opposition Political Party leaders on Thursday.