Uganda sets up info point on trade standards
Posted Wednesday, October 23 2013 at 00:00
Have you wondered why some countries do not allow agricultural exports from Uganda or set stringent standards? A web portal with information on such standards has been set up for Ugandan exporters.
With an increasing volume of agricultural or agricultural-based products being exported from Uganda or more traders exploring market opportunities in other countries, there arises the need to have as much information about those markets.
One of the things they will need to be aware of are the sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) that are in place in whatever market or country they are exporting to. These are the rules or regulations set for food safety and animal and plant health.
While sanitary standards refer to human and animal health, phytosanitary standards deal with plant health. For instance, if a trader in Uganda was to export fish to Belgium, he or she will need to know the sanitary standards that apply to this product in that country. If the product in question is maize grain, the information sought would be on phytosanitary standards.
On October 11, the National Enquiry Point (NEP) on SPS for Uganda was launched in Kampala by the Minister of Agriculture, Tress Bucyanayandi.
“We have the responsibility to consumers, both nationally and internationally, that is why it is important to have this information on standards on different plant and animal products,” he said.
“This is an instrument we have to use,” remarked Sven K. Jensen, CEO, aBiTrust, “Through this portal, Ugandan exporters will know about consumer preferences in countries they export to.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is host to the database in which the information is stored.
The NEP is accessible via Internet as well as through e-mail and SMS by users who will have to register in order to make use of its features. There is both public and private access. While the former is for the users, the former is for the personnel at the ministry and Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) to carry out registration, update data and send notifications to users.
The web portal is interactive; where the users can log in, check for the notifications about commodities as well as standards in different countries, and regional economic communities.
Through support from aBi Trust, the project is jointly implemented by MAAIF and PSFU. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives is also in partnership and hosts a similar database on related information on technical barriers to trade.
As a signatory to the World Trade Organisation, Uganda is required to establish and maintain an SPS portal.