by Joseph Omoremi
CHICAGO, IL – Organic and processed Uganda products may soon become a regular stable in the United States as 19 Ugandan exporters have been trained in targeted sectors and 17-distribution centers identified across the United States by the African Global Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) in a concerted efforts to raise the quality and quantity of African products entering the U.S. market.
“America is built on private enterprise. If we can connect the two continents together to build a strong private sector in Africa and create job opportunities and healthy foods here, AGCC would have accomplished some of his missions,” said AGCC President Olivier Kamanzi in an interview with The Chicago Inquirer.
The targeted sectors include roasted coffee, banana (Tooke), grains & cereal, vanilla, fruits & nuts, Dairy, dried beef, dried fish, tourism and hospitality, flowers, sugar, and leather designs.
Kamanzi, an Investment Banker had met several African president as a result of it stressing “I hosted the President of Mauritius Island in 2019 and President of Uganda in 2022 in Chicago during their visits to increase investment and trade between Africa and the United States.
Besides Chicago, other identified distribution centers are located in Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles to mention few. AGCC has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ugandan Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) on the need to focus on four identified areas of collaboration on market infrastructure, products compliance and conformity, export funding, and market approach to meet both Food, Drugs Administration (FDA) and other regulatory requirements and certification..
The success of the introduction of South African wines in Chicago and across the United States necessitated the need to expand African products in the country beyond oil and gas to meet US Consumer needs and requirements and to add product quality, quantity, packaging, and branding to exported goods which were not there in the past” he said
“Walmart is big. Besides FDA, what Walmart requirements to bring your products to its stores must be met. The same for Trader Joe’s among others stores. They also need to inspect your facilities as part of their precautionary measures.” he said and South Africa was the only country meeting those requirements besides oil exporters.
Kamanzi said AGCC was approached by the government of Uganda through PACEID
on the need to export their products to the United States after an Harvard reports credited Uganda as the highest producer of coffee in the African continent but were taken advantage off because they export coffee beans which are sold for less than a dollar instead of a processed or roasted coffee sold at $30 or more.
Ethiopia, is the highest exporter of coffee to the U.S today followed by Uganda according to Kamanzi. Ethiopia made over $1 billion last year and Uganda made about $600 million.
“You can imagine the big shift for a farmer to move from the sale of bean coffees at a cost less than a dollar to over $30, Kamanzi said.