Quarantine interceptions & transparency in horticultural supply chains: causes and outcomes in Uganda, a qualitative case study

Acho, Emmanuel (2022) Quarantine interceptions & transparency in horticultural supply chains: causes and outcomes in Uganda, a qualitative case study. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

PDF (Final Submission) (Thesis - as examined) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Available under Licence Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (3MB) | Preview


The horticultural industry in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years, fuelled by increased demand for temperate fruits and vegetables in the European market. In Uganda, the introduction of Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports (NTAEs) in the post-civil war era (mid 1980s onwards) as an export diversification strategy was met with limited success attributed to agronomical, logistical, and institutional challenges that resulted in a relatively small and fragile horticultural industry, serving a limited market specialised in the ethnic/exotic food trade. However, in recent years, increased demand from the diaspora has created new opportunities for Uganda´s ethnic/exotic horticultural exports in a buoyant industry that has increased fourfold over the last two decades. Meanwhile, this renewed opportunity is threatened by EU/UK legislation targeting the introduction and spread of organisms considered harmful to the environment. The threat is manifested in the interception and destruction of consignments found to be infested by (regulated) organisms (notably the false coddling moth (FCM)). While being common to all SSA countries infested by the FCM, interceptions have been particularly high for Uganda over the last seven years, a period coinciding with the boom in its horticultural industry.

Based on an instrumental case study design consisting of semi-structured interviews, document reviews, and participant observations, this research investigates the cause of interceptions in the Ugandan Horticultural Export Supply Chain, (fresh fruits & vegetables) and their relationship to the concept of transparency, which is increasingly core to agri-food chains. In line with the Global Value Chain (GVC) approach (Gereffi, 1999; 2005), it examines the response and outcomes resulting from attempts to comply with international public standards governing agricultural supply chains.

Findings indicate that a combination of environmental (e.g., regulatory), people (e.g., literacy levels of Outgrowers), process (e.g., bureaucracy) and technological (e.g., lack of IT infrastructure) factors working together as inhibitors of transparency are to account for the rising wave of interceptions.

Uganda´s response to interceptions, described in this study as the regulated integration (backwards) of supply chain relationships through the mandatory registration of producers is yielding results. This is in terms of enhanced capability development and supply chain transparency in a process described by the GVC literature as process upgrading. In so doing, the research contributes to the literature on supply chain transparency while suggesting a renewed focus of GVC research on the role of public standards (as opposed to private governance) in the upgrading and integration of developing countries in the world economy. The research is limited by the lack of a quantitative approach to validating findings that are essentially qualitative in nature. Future research involves the validation of transparency inhibitor matrix for the prioritisation of improvement initiatives in a quantitative study as well as an investigation of opportunities for improving Uganda´s phytosanitary certification process with distributed ledger technology.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Tan, Kim
Pawar, Kulwant
Keywords: Plant Quarantine, Global Value Chains, Plant Health Interceptions, Phytosanitary Regulations, Supply Chain Transparency
Subjects: H Social sciences > HF Commerce
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 67288
Depositing User: Acho, Emmanuel
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2022 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/67288

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View