Kampala — The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) has launched 9 product standards for staple foods in Uganda.
The 9 product standards are for food crops that fall under grains category such as rice, maize, sorghum among others.
The grain standards are expected to boost and increase grain trade between Uganda and other countries within the East Africa region by reducing technical barriers related to standards which had previously hampered such trade.
Handing over the developed standard's to the government of Uganda, the Assistant commissioner in charge of EAC integration in the Ministry of East African Affairs, Annet Namara said the standards will play a big role in economic integration among the EAC member states.
"The EAC has been implementing the EAC Customs Union since 1st July 2005. This was in effort to eliminate internal tariffs on goods produced within our territories in order to promote intra EAC Trade, adopt a common tax policy on third party goods and eliminate all non-tariff barriers to trade and now with the coming of the grain standards, we shall see great progress in trade among EAC member state," she said.
The Deputy Executive Director in charge Standards at the Uganda National Bureau of Standard, Patricia Ejalu reiterated the bureau's plan to enforce compliance to harmonized standards by tightening checks on grain quality parameters at the border check points to ensure that consumers feed on safe food.
Ejalu said Uganda being one of the leading producers of grain; her traders will benefit more from the harmonized East African grain standards because it will make standard implementation very easier to the standard agency
EAGC Executive Director, Gerald Masila said the standards will support farmers to make better decision in marketing their grains.
"Smooth adoption and application of the gazzeted standards enable farmers to access better and greater markets within the region which has an estimated population of 186,998,614 people and at the same time, consumers will be provided with safe and high quality food grain products." He explained.
Receiving the standards gazette on behalf of Government, Stanley Ahimbisibwe the Assistant commissioner Quality Assurance and Standardization in the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives applauded the EAGC for coming up with the grain standards saying it will boost Uganda's grain exports in the region.
"Uganda like any other East African Country cannot increase productivity and be globally competitive without proper implementation of standards and now with the launch of these standards in Uganda, it provides a great milestone to our grain business community," Ahimbisibwe said.
Ahimbisibwe assured the EAGC that the government of Uganda will support their efforts by making sure that the standards are domesticated in Uganda.
The 9 grain standards were presented to the East African Community for approval and according to the EAGC, the standards were approved by the EAC. Uganda is the second country in the EAC where harmonized standards for grains have been launched the first one being Kenya.