Kampala- East African Community (EAC) countries have agreed to harmonise grain standards to easily promote cross border trade in the region.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the East African Grain Council (EAGC) on Tuesday, the deputy executive director Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Ms Patricia Ejalu said leaders of standard bureaus in the region would meet to come up with general standards on grains.
“What we want as UNBS are safety measures that all countries have to follow. We are going to meet and come up with general standards. We want to promote easy trade among our farmers and companies,” Ms Ejalu.
Ms Ejalu said they are going to work with agriculture ministries in the region to ensure that standards are followed; stressing that Uganda would not allow any member state to abuse standards at any one point because of
“We are very sure this will contribute to the improvement of grain trade across borders and beyond. It will also improve food supply for food security and increase economic growth in the region,” she added.
The EAGC country manager, Uganda, Ms Lillian Bazaale said there is need for general regional standards on grains to allow easy trade and tap other markets elsewhere.
She said EAGC seeks to link and mobilize stakeholders to take advantage of the EAC integration process to improve food security through regional trade in grains.
“Each country has its own standards and this has raised disputes among countries thus becoming a trade barrier. What Tanzania knows as grade one or two, may not apply to Uganda, Rwanda or Kenya,” Bazaale added.
Ms Bazaale said EAGC has already analysed the standards and parameters of each country, and proposed some standards.
“We think this arrangement will also help to study the food balance sheet of each country to know what is in stock, whether it is sufficient or not to easily address issues of food security in different countries,” she said.
She said EAGC is ready to help farmers get markets for their produces once the standards are implemented.
EAGC collects market and price information in the region and manages 35 markets and are partners with the USAID East African Trade Hub to support the grain industry.