The research carried out by NIRDA between February and June 2019 on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) established that many entrepreneurs owning SMEs processing horticulture produce have inadequate means to integrate technology into their operations.
The research results were released on Friday with a call to adopt advanced measures to revitalize the agriculture sector.
According to the research, the country has 77 enterprises processing horticulture produce. The research was conducted in 56 enterprises while 7 others denied participation in the research.
The research focused on applied technology, market accessibility, compliance with instituted standards and seeking how challenges can be tackled.
NIRDA indicates that 11 (19%) of 56 firms can at least export one of their products to the international market.
The institution also reveals that only 18.3% of planted fruits are processed appropriately while only 1.5% of vegetables are processed.
Other challenges pointed out in the horticulture sector are related to damage of harvest before reaching consumers, inadequate cars transporting the harvest to the market and lack of marketing strategies of products among others. The Director-General of NIRDA, Kampeta Sayinzoga said that the research aimed at promoting value addition among these enterprises and seeking how technology can be integrated into their operations.
“We cannot trust that our enterprises can make competent quality products without embracing the latest technology,” she said.
“There have been losses in the past which were not experienced last year because we mobilized them to process the harvest. NIRDA comes in to build capacities in the area of technology because the harvest is in some cases taken to the market without value addition,” added Kampeta.
Following the report, NIRDA revealed that horticulture processing enterprises will participate in a competition in which winners shall receive the latest equipment through the Business Development Fund (BDF) and attend incubation programs.
Sayinzoga said that NIRDA is ready to keep supporting research initiatives among firms and helping them to acquire technology equipment.