By Spy Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni says the UK was “underutilising” its trade links with many African countries in light of fruit & veg shortages.
To him, the UK could have “absolutely” avoided the current fruit & veg shortages if it had set up more robust trade deals with Uganda and other African nations post-Brexit.
The president says the UK was “missing opportunities” for trade with its Commonwealth partners like Uganda, and that farmers in the East African nation were ready to ramp up exports of fresh produce and coffee.
“Those kinds of produce grow very easily here because of the climate,” he said during a visit to the northern city of Gulu.
He added that many African countries were “shut out” in terms of European trade at the time of the creation of the European Union, but that the UK’s exit from the bloc had offered chances for increased trade with African countries.
He said Uganda had “no problems” with the UK and that bolstering trade in a post-Brexit environment was a matter of “information and co-ordination” between governments.
The president’s comments come amid growing pressure for supply chain diversification after UK supermarket shelves were left empty of fresh fruit & veg due to a combination of factors including bad weather in Spain and Morocco and Brexit-related challenges.
Some of Uganda’s top agricultural crops include mangoes, bananas, chillies, onions and sweet potatoes, but the country also grows tomatoes and peppers.
Many supermarkets, including Tesco, Morrisons and Aldi, have started rationing fresh produce due to supply chain shortages.
“In order to create wealth, you need four factors of production – land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship. The UK has capital and entrepreneurship, we have land and labour,” Museveni said.
“The British are not using their opportunities.”
The Ugandan president added that if British companies were “actively encouraged by their government they would invest in Uganda to create products that would be sold here as well as the rest of Africa and back in the UK”.