Africa: Museveni pushes for access to the EU market for African products


President Yoweri Museveni has called on the European Union to open its market to African food products and improve farmers’ incomes for sustainable food security on the continent.

“If you can help us with the European market; remove the distortion that was introduced by the European Union when they introduced the European agricultural policy where you maintain artificial farmers in Europe with subsidies. Here we have no don’t need subsidies. I am a farmer , never received subsidies from anyone and I produce cheap food for Ugandans. You wonder why Europeans can’t get good food market here instead of having this distortion,” he said.

Museveni was meeting Bjorg Sandkjaer, State Secretary and Deputy Minister for International Development of the Kingdom of Norway at State House Entebbe on Tuesday.

The two leaders discussed various issues relating to food security, income generation and socio-economic transformation, among others.

Minister Sandkjaer praised Uganda’s efforts to ensure people have food and said Uganda is doing it very well.

“It would be fantastic if this distortion were removed. In 1955, when I was in third grade at school, I learned that the largest producer of wheat and beef in the world was Argentina. In 1900, the Argentina used to be the 10 richest country in the world, but now it is in a very bad situation.The main reason was the EU market…when Argentina,Australia and New Zealand saw their products blocked in the EU market. That’s how Argentina declined. Australia maneuvered and diversified,” he said.

The President said that Europe and Africa would greatly benefit from market opening.

“If you have to connect Europe and Africa on the issue of food, you will be well off. Africa would be well off and Europe will get cheap food. In Uganda, we do things easily. In this at the moment we are in a little war with kenya; war of eggs and chicken. our chicken when it goes to kenya it is cheaper and better so our people are underselling the kenyans. to get eggs it is need maize to feed the chickens. Uganda is producing maize cheaply. Kenyan farmers are crying now and using non-tariff barriers,” he said.

Museveni said that with two rainy seasons a year, even without irrigation, Uganda produces food twice a year which is quite unique.

“Even a crop like my group, there is obugyegashe, a small harvest in June. We plant in March and we harvest in June with rain only without irrigation. Then the big harvest is in August. We plant in September Nyakanga (A month when seeds should not be seen in the house. They must have been sown in September) and the harvest is in January. That is why January in our Bilulu language (the month when people make alarms to hunt birds to eat millet,” he said, adding that with a little mobilization, people have woken up to commercial farming. “Ugandans like to sleep. They produce food to eat but since some time we wake them up to produce food to eat and to pocket. This is the great war,” he said.

He said that in terms of food production, especially if we add irrigation even now, Uganda has a surplus of maize, milk, sugar, etc.

“We are one of the biggest banana producers in the world, we have a surplus of milk. Everything is surplus, including beef and sugar. The problem is the market,” he said .

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