CSOs urge agriculture value chain players to strengthen quality and standards measures to avoid losses.
We are convinced that failure to address the persistent glaring issues of quality and standards of agricultural products will negatively affect Uganda's efforts to attain NDP III and SDGs.
Civil Society Organisations and farmers in Uganda have expressed their dissatisfaction how the agricultural products are failed to meet the market standards die to their quality throughout the value chain which they say is increasingly impacting the lives of farmers and the economy of Uganda.
Over 61 CSOs under their umbrella organization Pellum Uganda have said that though government has negotiated various local and regional market, the inadequate quality and persistent non-compliance to market standards is still a challenge faced by farm producer.
They also say that though for instance the ban on exportation of maize to Kenya was lifted, there is need to address the underlying challenges facing the quality of agricultural produce at farm level.
In a joint press conference held at Pellum headquarters on Wednesday 16th March 2021, the Chairman Board Pellum, Christopher Kyeswa urged Agriculture value chain players including Parliament, farmers, CSOs, East Africa Community, Traders among others to fully adopt and implement quality and standards which he said have affected competitiveness, access, retention and satisfaction of national, regional and I her national markets.
“The agricultural sector is challenged in every aspect by inadequate adoption, implementation, and investment in the minimum accepted quality and standard requirements along the value chain for major commodities in Uganda.” he said
He urged parliament of Uganda to fast truck implementation of the food and nutrition bill to address the health challenges caused by aflatoxins and other mycotoxins in agricultural products while ensuring regulation and food safety for all citizens through bodies like Uganda National Bureau of Standards.
Serugo Alli, a farmer from Kamuli decriedd the cost of production for agricultural products while he said are affecting farmers at farm level coupled with low prices from the traders. He said that the poor post harvest handling, chemical inputs are among the causes of poor quality of the products.
“at the farm, after clearing the land, we spray the weeds, crops and grains with chemicals to kill the weeds, germinate the seedlings and preserve the grains. This is followed by drying and storage with the same poor-quality product. Traders buy both good and poor-quality seeds and mix them together at low prices” he said.
Margaret Masudio a farmer from Adjuman called upon Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to support farmers through sensitization of farmers on modern post-harvest handling, quality inputs and the effects of aflatoxin to farmers to assist them access information on standard agriculture practice.
Members of Pellum Uganda includes Action Aid International, CARITAS, Environment Alert, SNV Netherland, KULIKA Uganda, Send A Cow, Trocare. Oxfam among others