Failed Matooke economics

They say we cannot export fresh matooke to the US. Why, because they are blocking markets for importers of bananas from Latin America. And so, they label our bananas as problematic – as likely to bring in unwanted pests, blah, blah. Really, how problematic are our bananas? Anyway, that is how we end up with the “Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial development (PIBID)”.

In order to export matooke to the US, we first had to turn it into powder or we peel and freeze it, something or rather. Sincerely, who is going to eat powdered matooke in Uganda? The taste of powdered matooke is culturally unacceptable to many Ugandans who enjoy eating matooke. No wonder the PIBID failed, but after it had chewed up billions of shillings. It was a “white elephant” from its very beginning.

Read more in “Presidential banana initiative an example of why government programmes fail,” published on the PIBID website.

There are countries which have developed on agriculture, such as Denmark, Netherlands, and others; and they are exporting their stuff here. But if you go to those countries you will be hard pressed to find our fresh Ugandan produced products there in the same volume as we find their products here in Uganda. The unfair trade is there for all to see. We are busy importing things from the US from subsidised farmers of the US or from subsidised farmers from the EU, which means that our African Union is not succeeding.

Our African union needs to do exactly as the EU does and stop certain products from entering our borders, if the other unions continue to block products from Africa from their respective markets. Our position should be, for example, if the wheat which is making chapatti is not being produced here in Uganda or another African country, we should not eat chapatti and eat kabalagala made out of cassava and bananas grown here.

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On the evening of 2nd February 2015, on Spectrum on Radio One FM90, I had the honour to debate two distinguished African leaders – Ambassador Kintu Nyago who was the Deputy Head of the Uganda Mission at the UN and Mr. Godber Tumushabe who was the Associate Director at the Great Lakes Institute for strategic studies; which debate was moderated by Mr. Edmond Kizito. How interesting that my views that I shared then, herein contained, remain even the more relevant today.

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