In Summary

According to a report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ugandan farmers lost between Shs38.2 billion and Shs80 billion annually due to counterfeit maize seeds, herbicide and inorganic fertiliser sales in 2012.

Kampala.

State minister for Trade Michael Werikhe has appealed to the private sector to join hands with government and eliminate counterfeit goods from the local market.

“We are all aware that government alone cannot solve this problem. There is a great need for private sector intervention in protecting consumers and facilitating legitimate production and trade,” Mr Werikhe said.

He made the remarks at the official launch of the Anti-Counterfeit Network (ACN) in Kampala on Monday.

ACN is a response to the persistent rise of counterfeits in the face of limitations and immense challenges that government enforcement and regulatory bodies continue to encounter in the fight against counterfeits.

According to the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition, counterfeit goods are those manufactured or distributed under someone else’s name, and without their permission. These goods are generally made from lower quality components, in an attempt to sell a cheap imitation of similar goods produced by brands consumers know and trust.

In the Ugandan market, counterfeits are prevalent in garments, leather, food, beverages, electronics, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and agricultural inputs.

According to a report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ugandan farmers lost between Shs38.2 billion and Shs80 billion annually due to counterfeit maize seeds, herbicide and inorganic fertiliser sales in 2012.

Currently, World Customs Organisation estimates that the value of the world counterfeit merchandise trade is in excess of $900 billion.

For a sector that thrives on innovation, the Kampala City Traders Association chairman, Mr Kayondo Everest, said counterfeit goods greatly affect the business community and warned that the current trend will kill innovation and brand development.