By Kabuye Ronald
Various government bodies and food organizations have on Thursday held a high level dialogue meeting at the office of the president on how to make Uganda’s maize competitive in the region again following the Kenyan ban.
While giving her opening remarks in the meeting that brought together all food related, quality control organizations, farmers, trade and business community, the state minister for economic monitoring Molly Kamukama emphasized the need to have the grains on the standards to be competitive on local, regional and international market.
Kamukama is optimistic that the meeting will come up with the relevant strategy to put an end to poor quality maize grains produced which will help to secure people’s health and also create a ready market as well.
She said that the resolutions and the standards to be set will include punitive measures and punishment to those who will not follow the guidelines after their presentation to cabinet and its endorsement.
The meeting comes a week after Uganda and Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding on how to effective handle maize trade, after the latter’ ban on Ugandan maize for containing aflatoxins.
In the same meeting, the World Food Program representative and country director El-Khidir Daloum emphasized that the country needs to ensure that they produce quality food on time and at a reasonable price if indeed they want to compete in the regional and international market.
He also cited out the issue of poor post-harvest handling and poor storage as the major cause of poor quality maize.
Some of the officials from the various organizations that included National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), National Planning Authority (NPA), Export Promotion Board, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and among others faced a hard time explaining why they have failed to ensure that only quality maize is on the market.