UGANDA – Uganda has launched the Grain Industry Self-Regulation (ISR) guidelines in a bid to enhance consumer confidence, improve the image of the grain industry making it competitive in the region.
Ms Geraldine Ssali, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives presided over the launch ceremony held on February 8, at Fairway hotel, Kampala.
The initiative, spearheaded by the Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU) seeks to operationalize and implement the ISR guidelines among the key Value Chain Actors in the grain sector.
It is envisaged that the ISR will help in disciplining businesses that fail to meet the set standards and guidelines and also help in improving complaint handling, leading to an efficient and competitive grain sector.
Various stakeholders in the grains industry including representatives for Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Local Government, Uganda National Bureau of Standard (UNBS), NARO, Agribusiness Support Agencies and the private sector graced the event.
Whereas Uganda is known for high agricultural yields, most of the food is left to waste through poor handling.
According to the Economic Policy Research Centre (Uganda), food losses and wastages arise mainly due to poor post-harvest handling practices and through the absence of adequate and appropriate food infrastructure in harvest and post-harvest systems.
The center also recorded that the majority of the farmers still use rudimentary methods like drying on uncovered ground, storage in sacks or pouring on the ground, hand shelling, or beating.
Drying and storing on the ground makes agricultural produce susceptible to discoloration, and contamination with foreign matter, termite damage, mold, and debris.
To mitigate the challenges in the Ugandan grain sector, recently, the Grain Council of Uganda introduced a comprehensive code of conduct aimed at improving the quality of grains produced in the country.
According to experts, the move would address concerns related to aflatoxins, which have adversely impacted the marketability of grains like maize, millet, sorghum, rice, and wheat.
By introducing a code of conduct, experts believe that it would serves as a campaign to encourage self-regulation, a move that was endorsed by government regulators.
In addition, the code of conduct would play a crucial role in governing processes within facilities and addressing the informalities in grain trade in Uganda.
At the launch event in Kampala, stakeholders emphasized the importance of self-regulation within the sector.