Story of impact

Read more about our work and the impact it is having around the world

You are here: Home / Stories of impact / Project boosts Uganda’s horticultural trade

Project boosts Uganda’s horticultural trade


Agriculture is vital for Uganda’s economy. However, the country faced challenges when it failed to meet sanitary and phytosanitary measures, resulting in self-imposed bans on horticultural goods. In response, the government commissioned CABI to manage a three-year project aimed at improving Uganda’s compliance with these measures. This investment has enabled Uganda to meet international standards and access more profitable markets, benefiting both farmers and the economy. 

The story

In Uganda, agriculture is a significant source of income for most people. The industry employs 84% of the working population and supports 80% of the country’s export earnings. 

But several years ago, profitable exports to EU markets were hindered when Uganda failed to meet sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures such as quarantine standards. Uganda put in place a self-imposed ban on chillies and other horticultural goods. At the heart of the problem were plant pests and high pesticide residues. The ban affected the country’s smallholder farmers. 

Bans like this prevent countries from growing their agricultural sectors to their full potential. But Uganda took action. The government’s Vision 2040 identified agriculture as a big opportunity to transform the country. In 2019, the Ugandan government commissioned CABI to manage a three-year SPS project with partners. The aim was to improve Uganda’s SPS practices. 

The project focused on integrated pest management, food safety, and export requirements. It trained 1,400 smallholder farmers in SPS compliance. And it identified five priority pests to manage, including fruit flies, moths, and weevils. The project increased knowledge about profitable commodities, and it boosted the skills of farmers, extensionists, inspectors, traders, and transporters. The training helped them to tackle harmful organisms that damage produce. 

Kampala’s Entebbe International Airport now has inspectors working round the clock. They ensure exports meet requirements. Where inspectors intercept pests, Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries records and addresses them. Interception databases help to uphold compliance, efficiency, and traceability. The investment has paid dividends. 

“Working with partners, Uganda now has greater capacity to ensure that its exports are safe and of a high standard demanded by customers not only in regional but also more profitable European markets.” – Florence Chege, Project Scientist, CABI 

Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty

Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.

Zero Hunger

Developing a sustainable food system that helps smallholders meet the world's growing need for food.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Helping grow more from less land by introducing higher-yielding and environmentally responsible food production techniques.

Climate Action

Helping agricultural sector to supply sufficient, safe and nutritious food, embedded in a healthy and climate resilient landscape

Life on Land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Partnerships for the Goals

Organizations must develop and enhance partnerships to find the best and most sustainable solutions to the world's challenges.

Related projects

Enhancing the capacity of Uganda’s fruit and vegetable sector to comply with phytosanitary requirements

Uganda’s rural agriculture sector is the main driver for the country’s economy and a major employer – exporting fresh fruits and vegetables (FFVs) supports both rural employment and economic development. However, challenges faced by managing pests and diseases are causing Uganda to face export rejections. This project will help Uganda to comply with EU phytosanitary requirements and improve market access to high-end and regional markets.

Start: 01/02/2018 End: 31/07/2022