The Uganda National Bureau of Standards has come out to toughen up it’s measures geared towards eliminating poor quality maize. The body wants to make sure that all maize both for export and the local market meet the required standards.
It should be recalled that the body in March issued certificates to 27 companies and brands that had met the necessary requirements. These were legalised to sell maize for consumption.
UNBS also went ahead to warn all companies in the maize processing industry on how they needed to have required certificates by June 30th to continue operating.
While holding a stakeholders meeting in Luweero recently, UNBS discovered that almost all the maize dealers did not have certificates of operation a thing that puts consumers lives at risk.
“If we are saying that what we eat is poisonous but we allow you to continue providing poison fir the next two years, that may not work. You can’t continue giving people food that is not fit for their consumption.” UNBS standards department manager Andrew Othieno addressed the meeting.
However, the maize dealers blamed UNBS for not engaging them on their operations.
“They have to create awareness among us which they have not done well enough”. One of maize dealers said.
“We had to get this meeting and go through all the necessary steps and get the proper orientation.” Another said.
Othieno accepted the blame saying the body had not done enough but it was high time they stepped up.
“I agree we have not done enough because we were probably looking at other areas, other areas such as enforcement,” Othieno added.
“We have been fearing to sell our maize flour with the fear that we shall be arrested.” One maize miller said.
Othieno urged the maize dealers not to waste any more time but rather get the certificate immediately.
“Certification is a process that leads you into being granted a permit so we are encouraging you to start as soon as possible. If you have everything in place, the necessary documents,the process to get a certificate takes 21 days.” Othieno told the dealers.
The maize dealers agreed that none of them met the necessary UNBS standards.They however said they would no work towards achieving these standards they were taught about.
A recent UNBS investigation found that most maize dealers were operating under unhygienic conditions and lacked the necessary quality control measures.