On 7th April 2022, the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance), in cooperation with its implementing partner Swisscontact, held a validation workshop to disseminate the findings of a needs assessment study for the Trade Information Portal conducted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives (MTIC) with support from the Alliance’s Re-engineering of Uganda’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary inspection of Horticulture Exports (RUSH project.
The workshop attracted 29 participants (20 men and 9 women), including representatives from Government agencies, exporters of fruits and vegetables, representatives from fruits and vegetable sector associations, and the project team. The workshop aimed to inform the stakeholders on implementation progress and further galvanize momentum. It also enabled the project team to obtain feedback on the needs analysis study, validate it, and establish a roadmap for updating the Trade Information Portal with fruit and vegetable sector trade facilitation information modules.
The MTIC also used the workshop to introduce and familiarise exporters with Uganda’s main Trade Facilitation portal, which the Ministry maintains. The needs assessment results will ensure the introduction of new, relevant information and the modification of the existing information on the portal, which will improve the user experience for new and existing exporters. All attendees welcomed this initiative.
The key requirements for incorporation into the portal include notification of new regulations, information on destination markets, and market requirements. Additionally, the exporters expressed that the portal should facilitate interactions on how to conduct due diligence, and register other export value chain actors such as registered fumigators. Moreover, it should be modified into an application that can be installed on mobile phones, serving as a tool to simplify access to information.
During the workshop, suggestions were made about the need for effective representation in export markets with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commercial attachés playing a more visible and supportive role.
“… We are missing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which should be able to connect us to embassies that have commercial attachés to help us when we have issues on the other side of the market. They should be involved in these kinds of meetings…” said Mustapha Mallah, Director of Thyme Herbs.
Once the portal is updated with horticulture export information modules and awareness of it is raised, there will be improved trade information flow to MSMEs and women entrepreneurs, which will enable them to improve their export businesses.