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Meat exports to UAE hindered by halaal standards

Meat exports to UAE hindered by halaal standards

(Courtesy photo)

Uganda is missing out on significant trade opportunities with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to challenges in meeting Halaal requirements, according to Mr. Amos Tindyebwa, the managing director of Fresh Cuts. The UAE has become a crucial trade partner for Uganda, offering various opportunities that the country has yet to fully explore.

In a recent government-to-government engagement between Uganda and the UAE, Tindyebwa highlighted that Uganda’s private sector, especially in the beef and poultry industry, is falling short of its export potential to the UAE due to difficulties in complying with Halaal standards. Initially, exporters were using standards from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, but the UAE insisted on its approved standards, creating hurdles for Ugandan exporters.

Tindyebwa explained that meeting Halaal compliance has proven to be a complex process for Ugandan exporters. The challenges include high costs, uncertainty regarding Halaal standards providers, and bureaucratic processes within the government. These factors have hindered Ugandan meat from entering the UAE market, posing a significant barrier to many exporters.

Over the past six years, Uganda has successfully entered markets in the Middle East, such as Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, and Egypt. However, challenges persist in accessing the UAE and Saudi Arabian markets, limiting Uganda’s meat exports.

Uganda currently exports only 12 percent of its meat potential, primarily due to quality and standard-related issues. President Museveni’s recent visit to Abu Dhabi aimed at enhancing trade relations signifies the importance of the UAE as an export destination for Uganda, accounting for 44 percent of the country’s exports, with gold being the major export product.

Addressing the concerns raised by Tindyebwa, Mr. Saeed Alameri, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Food and Agriculture Authority, pledged to work towards easing access to certification by collaborating with the government. This collaboration aims to streamline the process for Ugandan exporters, potentially opening up more opportunities in the UAE market.

As Uganda seeks to overcome these challenges and tap into its full export potential, collaboration between the government and the private sector becomes crucial. Efforts to simplify Halaal compliance processes and reduce associated costs can play a significant role in boosting Uganda’s meat exports to the UAE, further strengthening the trade relationship between the two nations.

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