Stakeholders in the agriculture value chain have asked government to fast track the formulation and passing of the National Organic Agriculture Bill.
These say government was able to pass the Organic Agriculture Policy, however, it remains redundant without a bill.
Speaking at a stakeholder consultative meeting, Alex Lwakuba, the commissioner crop production, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), said the current policy is just the first step in the legislative process for effective implementation of the required bill.
He says if the bill is not passed, the policy will be redundant which may lead to the retrogress of the organic sub sector.
He explained that with the bill, there will be standards, values and norms concerning the specific organic agriculture actors who will be under specified circumstances.
According to the CEO National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), Charlton Namuwoza, Organic Agriculture is a sure avenue to ensure sustainable development in Uganda, with a huge global demand which continues to grow, creating enormous market opportunities for smallholder organic farmers and SME companies.
Currently, the global organic market exceeds Euro 125 Billion (FiBl 2023). This rapid development has been partially attributed to a shift in consumer demand.
He noted that Uganda is increasingly receiving recognition as a major player in the organic export market.
He added that With increasing consciousness about health and food safety, the local market for organic products is also growing steadily.
Uganda continues to maintain its position on the global stage as the country with the second highest number of certified organic producers in the world, after India.
The most traded items include beverages (Coffee, Cocoa), Sesame, Chia seed, frozen fruit pulp, Fresh/dried fruits (pineapple, apple banana, mango, papaya, jack fruit, passion fruit), spices (Vanilla, chilli, ginger, cardamom, black pepper), herbs, essential oils, and Shea butter/nuts.
However, he noted that following the approval of the National Organic Agriculture Policy (NOAP) in 2019, for better implementation, the national organic agricultural bill is needed to develop a popular version that will be translated into different languages for stakeholders to quickly grasp the contents of the policy.
Officiating at the meeting, The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister, Rukia Nakadama, assured stakeholders and Organic actors that government will support the bill.