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Uganda is looking to revamp its edible oil business following a massive decline

Uganda is looking to revamp its edible oil business following a massive decline
  • Uganda invests $64.3 million to rehabilitate 2,500 km of roads for edible oilseed projects in 81 areas. 
  • Edible oil exports in Uganda dropped from $281.1 million to $90.5 million in July 2023, prompting revitalization efforts. 
  • Challenges in seed quality, yields, and local demand hinder Uganda's edible oil industry despite trade agreements.

In an effort to boost its dwindling exports of edible oil, Uganda has started the reconstruction of important routes of entry to oilseed projects in 81 areas.

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The nation is looking at ways to increase exports of edible fats and oils, which have declined from Ush1.05 trillion ($281.1 million) in the same month last year to Ush338.2 billion ($90.5 million) in July 2023.

Uganda has struggled to produce this highly desired product due to a rise in demand worldwide last year that was compounded by a crisis in Ukraine, one of the top suppliers of vegetable oil in the world. This dispute caused supply chains to be interrupted and drove up prices in the local market.

Less than 40% of the demand is presently met by the country, which is working to increase production by revitalizing oilseed projects in various areas around the country, implementing value addition, and improving transportation linkages to market centers.

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The Ministry of Local Government has already started developing technical plans for building roads and is gathering information from local communities through monitoring and evaluation procedures to understand the difficulties with market access.

The investment is estimated to cost Ush240 billion ($64.3 million) and would rehabilitate almost 2,500 kilometers of community access roads in six hubs: West-Nile, Gulu, Lira, Eastern, Mid-Western, and Karamoja. It will span 81 districts. Additionally, it aims to train local government employees in engineering design so they may supervise upcoming road projects in their respective local governments.

In March 2023, Dr. Samuel Mugasi, the Executive Director of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs), voiced his worries to The Daily Monitor, noting the country's lack of oilseeds and the challenges associated with importing edible oil because of the country's high local demand.

According to official figures, Uganda produces 80,000 metric tons of vegetable oil per year, while 410,000 metric tons are needed to fulfill domestic consumption.

Despite Uganda's trade agreements with the European Union (EU), the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), and China, which include beneficial terms like low tariffs and quotas for premium oilseed exports, local oilseed farmers still struggle with problems like subpar seed quality, low yields, and decreased oil content.

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