UGANDA – The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) has unveiled nine product standards for staple foods that fall under grains category with an aim to boost and increase grain trade between Uganda and other East African countries.

According to an article in the East African Business Week, the standards will play a critical role in easing trade across the region by reducing technical barriers related to the standards.

The nine product standards cover a range of staples including rice, maize, and sorghum among others.

The standards were handed over to the government of Uganda by the Assistant commissioner in charge of EAC integration in the Ministry of East African Affairs, Annet Namara who said the standards will be important in promoting 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 council reiterated its commitment to ensure safe food for consumers by enforcing compliance to harmonized standards on grain quality parameters at the border check points.

The standards are set to not only benefit Ugandan grain traders but also farmers who will be charged to practice best farming methods for better market prices in the region.

The government applauded the decision by the council saying the move will boost Uganda’s grains in the export markets and that it was ready to ensure domestication of the standards in Uganda.

“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,” said Stanley Ahimbisibwe the Assistant Commissioner Quality Assurance and Standardization in the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives.

Maize is the dominant grain crop amongst cereals with 2.81 million metric ton of production followed by sorghum and cereal production is projected to be growing on an average rate of 3.30%, cited Mordor Intelligence.

The nine standards were approved by the East African Community, making Uganda second to Kenya where harmonized standards for grains have been launched.