National, News

Fish exports lack proper certification-NBS

By Kei Emmanuel Duku


South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) admits that most fish exported to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) via Uganda lack proper certification, leading to trade disputes.

SSNBS Director of Export Certification, Mrs. Neima Samson Gomma, highlighted widespread non-compliance with export standards during the launch of the ‘Certification Scheme and Quality Mark’ on Tuesday.

Gomma pointed out that fish traders frequently bypass export license applications, proper packaging, and mandatory testing procedures. This results in the impounding of their fish by Ugandan customs.

“Our fish packaging is inadequate,” stated Gomma. “There’s no proper labelling. It’s impossible to identify the company, origin, or state. This is unacceptable internationally.”

She referenced an incident in August 2023 where SSNBS seized trucks carrying unfit maize flour at the South Sudan-Uganda border.

Gomma emphasized the adoption of international standards like those set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) within the East African region.

She stressed the mandatory testing and certification required for all South Sudanese exports.

Encouraging participation in the new program, Gomma stated, “the quality mark certification will build trust with domestic and international consumers. It’s about adhering to proper protocols. Just as we reject poorly labelled or packaged goods from Uganda or Kenya, Ugandan authorities do the same with South Sudanese products.”

The launch of the Certification Scheme and Quality Mark aims to minimize trade disputes by ensuring South Sudanese exports meet international standards.

Dr. Philip Kahuma, Division Product Certification Head at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), stated their role in testing and inspecting South Sudanese products destined for the DRC and other countries, offered at subsidized costs.

He urged fish traders to collaborate with both bureaus for faster product clearance.

“We offer certification at reduced rates for both small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and larger businesses,” explained Dr. Kahuma.

“The challenge lies in the digital conformity mark, charged per unit. Traders struggle to afford this based on the number of units applied for.”

Meanwhile, Pride M. Magwali, Head of Markets and Trade Unit at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), emphasized the importance of the certification program in ensuring product safety and consumer confidence.

“Certification schemes not only guarantee safety but also establish quality standards, crucial for products impacting consumer health,” said Magwali. “They verify that products undergo rigorous checks and meet local and international standards.”

This initiative aims to improve the quality and marketability of South Sudanese exports, fostering smoother trade relations with neighbouring countries.


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