Domestic trade in Uganda?

You go to (an outlet of a foreign owned and based transnational supermarket) just to buy a kilo of rotten meat en those chicken drumsticks that test like nothing nearer to the aroma of that local bird.

Yet, there are whole chicken in Nakawa Market and numerous butchers that give you the liberty of pointing to the specific section of the cow.

Modernity at a stupid level.


This observation posted on Facebook this morning, got me thinking about our domestic trade. I remembered how one time, when I was on a flight from Entebbe to Dar es Salaam, aboard Air Uganda, we were served:

  • Yogurt from Jesa Farm
  • Wavah bottled water
  • Pastries, tea, coffee, fruit juices and fresh fruits, all products made, grown and supplied by Ugandan owned companies.

It was a proud Ugandan moment for me. Sadly,  Air Uganda is since grounded, on seemingly silly grounds; which possibly could have been avoided, if only Uganda had any pride. 

  • How is it possible that the Government of Uganda (GoU) allows for Air Uganda to fail?
  • How is it logical for the GoU to allow an opportunity for national carriers of other nations to go out of control, hiking the cost of air travel for Ugandans and for those wishing to come to Uganda?
  • Does GoU care for Ugandan’s at all?

My trip to Dar es Salaam was for a meeting with other leaders from within the East Africa Region. At the meeting, during a health break, one of the leaders, a successful Ugandan business woman, Maria Odido, the Chief Executive Officer of Bee Natural Uganda, shared her philosophy on import and export trade.

It is like a mother who prepares a sumptuous meal, serves the best part of the food into her best serving dishes, wraps it up nicely, takes it and gives it to the neighbours; and then returns home to serve her children the cold leftovers.

Maria Odido

According to Maria, this is what she will not do with her products – her honey is first for the Ugandan market and then when there is extra she will export it to East Africa, Africa and then outside Africa. Sadly, on the whole, Ugandan entrepreneurs with an attitude such as Maria has are rare. There is a tendency among Ugandans to have low expectations from each other.

Admittedly, the GoU has made some effort to support Ugandan small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, it has done so selectively and piecemeal, within a framework that encourages the SMEs primarily to focus on producing for export as opposed to improving on their product quality and distribution within the Uganda market. So, in my neighbourhood of Bugolobi it is easier to find Nescafe coffee than it is Good African coffee.

One response to “Domestic trade in Uganda?”

  1. A builder good at furnishing other people’s houses when his is leaking in all corners and when it rains the bost position is sleeping while standing or standing while sleeping


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