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August 31, 2008

Uganda's fruit export potential under-utilised

Uganda has not adequately utilised the potential it has to tap into the US$1.2 billion global fruits market, a market information brief by the Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) for the month of August has indicated.

Opportunities lie in exportation of organic avocadoes, mangoes & guavas, pineapples and yellow bananas.

While Uganda already exports fruits to markets in the European Union (EU), the study recommends that there is need to explore new and softer markets in North Africa and the Middle East.

The world demand for avocado stood at $959 million in 2006 and grew by 19% between 2002-2006. The avocado market is largely dominated by supermarket chains and retailers who package for consumption.

The world's major importers of avocado are USA, France, United Kingdom (UK) and Netherlands with the UK standing out as Uganda's significant importer of avocadoes.

"In all these countries, market indices present a positive growth trend reflecting favorable market opportunities for avocado exports," the report said.

Uganda's avocado exports face competition from Mexico, Spain, Chile and Netherlands.

According to the brief, boosting the supply chain will increase off season exports of avocado. It recommends that Uganda will also need to address peasant production systems, harvest and post-harvest handling and value-addition into oil extracts for cosmetic industries.

Trends in the pineapple market show that North Africa has become a destination market for pineapples. The MD2 type of pineapple continues to dominate the market in the EU over other varieties like smooth Cayenne and Victoria.

Given the bulky size of fresh pineapples produced in Uganda, focusing on export of dried pineapples can give advantage to exporters over the small size MD2 in the EU. There is a small niche for value-added produce, such as pre-cut, ready-to-eat pineapple.

The UK market is the most interesting market for these convenience products, though the market is increasing in almost all EU countries.

Prices of pineapples in the EU market improved in the month of June and are expected to continue to increase. Quotations increased at the end of July reaching about $10,000 per carton for common brands and about $13,000 per carton for top brands in Europe.

The world market for mangoes and guavas was estimated at $1 billion in 2006 and grew by 13% between 2002-06.

Uganda's major markets for mangoes and guavas are Kenya, Germany, UK and United Arab Emirates. Although there is growing demand for this product in virtually all these markets, Kenya remains a major importer with a market share of 75%.

Leading world importers are USA, Netherlands and UK but all markets present high and positive growth trends.

Uganda's mango exports face competition from world giant suppliers such as India, Mexico, Brazil and Netherlands, whose market share when added together is 52%.

Prices for the products average Euros 5.00 per carton for sea freighted mangoes and Euros 2- 3 per kilogramme for air-freighted fruits depending on quality.

Opportunities lie in exporting processed fruit concentrates and juices.

Uganda has opportunities in the regional markets of Rwanda, DR Congo, South Sudan and Burundi.

"At the same time, there is need to promote commercial production to raise volumes for export markets and also addressing harvest and post harvest handling," the brief said.

The global demand for bananas stood at $9 billion in 2006 and grew between 2002-06. Major markets for bananas are the US, Belgium, Germany, UK and Japan. Uganda's bananas are imported by UK, Kenya and Belgium with the UK the leading importer, with a market share of 65.4%, followed by Kenya with 25.2%.

Uganda faces competition from Costa Rica (18.5%), Dominican Republic (17.1%), Cameroon (12.5%) and Colombia (10.3%). Uganda's market share within this market is just 0.3%. Exporters of bananas need to comply with EU legislation and have to be aware of the additional non-legislative requirements in the EU market.

World leading importers of fresh fruits are China, Hong Kong, Russian Federation, Germany and USA. The EU remains a major market for fresh fruit exports from developing countries.

East African Business Week

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