Traders seek ways to replace Ugandan goods

Thursday August 27 2020


Cargo trucks at the Uganda-Rwanda border of Kagitumba. Photo| Cyril Ndegeya  

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Local manufacturers are slowly replacing products that they used to import from Uganda as trade restrictions between the two countries continue.

Leading imports from Uganda are construction materials like cement and roofing products, cooking oil, soap, as well as a wide range of beauty products.

Now, local businesses are not only importing the same products from Tanzania and Kenya but some have started producing them despite concerns about the quality of the products.

For instance, eight years ago, Mukamana Eudi, together with a friend started a company, Karisimbi, which processes cow ghee, before venturing into beauty products like Saneza Jelly.

At the beginning, they struggled to get market but since Ugandan jelly ceased coming, they have seen a turnaround in their sales.

“We have recorded a 60 per cent growth in our sales, some customers who used to use products like Movit from Uganda now buy Saneza Jelly, we are now even facing a challenge of people counterfeiting our products” she said.


Some products for instance cement, detergents, Mukwano cooking oils, among others, have only been replaced by imports from other countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Egypt lack of capacity to manufacture them locally.

A local company tried to replace the crunchy snack called gorillos, that used to come from Uganda, with another one called didos, but has failed to consistently supply the market.

“These products that came as imitations for Ugandan products are failing miserably, first of all customers say they lack quality, but even after some customers start buying them for lack of options, they end up disappearing on the market” said Sumwiza Odette, a mini-supermarket owner in Kanombe