National, News

Uganda must certify goods before entering S. Sudan

By William Madouk


All export goods from Uganda must have quality certificate before entering South Sudan, a move aimed to combat products unfit for human consumption.

The decision comes as part of South Sudan’s efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of the citizens as well as promote fair trade practices.

Two principals, the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS), and Uganda National Bureau of Standard (UNBS), resolved in a joint meeting.

South Sudan National Bureau of Standards chairperson, Dr. Kuorwel Kuai Kuorwel co-chaired the meetin with his counterpart, Mr. Nangalama Daniel Richard Makayi, Uganda National Bureau of Standard (UNBS) Acting Executive Director.

In his remark, Dr. Kuorwel ruled that standards certification is a must for all goods.

“We have discussed and we have resolved to make sure that all importers from South Sudan and exporters from Uganda ensure that all goods that are exported from Uganda are to be certified by UNBS,” he said.

“It is important and to underscore this for our traders to know very well that product certification is not about the company certification, it is about that particular product being certified by UNBS,” he added.

The meeting also tackled cross-border Standards and Quality related issues on cereals mainly maize grains and maize flour with major emphasis on certification and laboratory analysis of the maize flour.

The two regulatory bodies also discussed sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues including standard requirements for other products such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, chicken and chicken products (eggs), and beverages.

Furthermore, the meeting discussed certification for South Sudan products such as dried and salted fish and Teak logs.

For his part, Nangalama cited that they would create awareness and train all stakeholders in the value chain, from the farm to the final consumer on how to handle the food to avoid contamination.

“We have also recognized that we cannot solve this thing only as bureaus of standards, the issue of aflatoxin,” he stated.

“It involves sensitization, awareness on standards and good practices right from the farm up to this level,” Nangalama added.

“Another thing is a value chain, it starts from the farm, it goes to production, it goes post-harvest and this therefore means we shall engage other actors from agriculture, grain council, and elsewhere to see that the whole thing is holistic.”

Last year, at least five consignments of maize grain and flour that were destined for South Sudan were destroyed by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) because of a failed aflatoxin test.

The 23 trucks were carrying 27 assorted consignments which included maize grain, milled maize (corn), dry beans, sorghum, cassava flour and finger millet grains.

However, the SSNBS confined the trucks in Nimule and were returned to Uganda after failing the standard test.

After another test, the UNBS said the results showed that four of the eight consignments of maize grains failed with the highest levels of aflatoxin.

Likewise, one of the 12 consignments of maize flour failed the aflatoxin test.

Other results showed that all the two consignments of beans passed the aflatoxin test, all the three consignments of sorghum passed the test and the one consignment of cassava flour also passed the aflatoxin test.

About aflatoxins 
Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts.

The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world.

Aflatoxin-producing fungi can contaminate crops in the field, at harvest, and during storage.

Exposure to aflatoxins is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer.



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