CEHA to Boost Growth in Uganda

On 21 June 2024, the Uganda chapter of the COMESA – East African Community Horticultural Accelerator (CEHA) launched in Kampala in an event that brought together representatives from the private sector, the government, and various partners, signaling a major advancement in the growth of the horticulture industry in the country and region.

Established in 2022, CEHA is a collaborative initiative created by public and private sector partners to better coordinate policy, value chain development programs, financing, and Research and Development (R&D) in the horticulture industry.

The primary aim of CEHA is to accelerate the growth of the Fruit and Vegetable (F&V) sub-sector across the COMESA and EAC regions, which includes Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda; Chapters launched this far are Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, while Ethiopia and Tanzania are lined up for launching.

Hortifresh, the Uganda CEHA Secretariat, serves as the apex association for exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables in Uganda. At the launch event, Mr. Fred Zake, Executive Director of Hortifresh, praised the initiative for uniting Uganda’s private sector fresh fruit and vegetable exporters and producers under a common goal. He emphasized the importance of collective effort in achieving the accelerator’s objectives.

Paul Mwambu, Commissioner for Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in Uganda, highlighted the broader economic impact of supporting the horticulture sector.

“Backing up horticulture will lead to economic transformation through an increase in food and nutrition,” he stated, underscoring the sector’s potential to drive substantial economic and social benefits.

Mr. Steven Byantware, MAAIF Director for Crop Resources, noted the commendable efforts of the Horticulture Accelerator in boosting the growth of Uganda’s Fruit and Vegetable sub-sectors. He emphasized that such initiatives are critical for the sustainable development of the agricultural sector.

The CEHA Uganda Chapter’s mission is to enhance coordination in policy formulation, value chain development programs, financing, and R&D within the horticulture industry. This initiative aims to expedite the growth of the F&V sub-sector, ultimately contributing to the economic prosperity of the COMESA and EAC regions.

Dr. John Mukuka, Chief Executive Officer of COMESA-ACTESA, expressed optimism for the future of the horticultural industry in the region.

“The COMESA Secretariat through ACTESA is looking forward to the transformation of the horticultural industry in our region, currently valued at USD 4 billion, to double or triple in the next 10 years. CEHA will provide many opportunities for the COMESA and EAC Regions, especially for landowners with access to less than one hectare of land,” he remarked.

The launch event also included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ACTESA and Hortifresh, cementing their commitment to collaborate and drive the horticulture sector forward. This partnership is expected to facilitate the development of innovative solutions and strategies to overcome challenges and harness opportunities within the horticulture industry.