KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has given shs 670m to the Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU) towards building the capacity of grain traders to comply with the grain standards required both in the local and international markets.
The aim is to increase the formal grain trade. Information from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives indicates that formal grain trade is at 20% while informal grain trade is at 80%.
Explaining the financial support, the AGRA Country Manager, Dr John Jagwe, said the money will not only support TGCU to build capacity but will also increase structured or formal grain trade for the next two and a half years.
The support is part of AGRA’s new strategy, which will support member countries in areas such as quality seed development, access to markets, standards, and policy interventions, among others.
For the success of the project, Jagwe said it brings together key actors in the grain sector, including the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to ensure compliance, National Agriculture Research Organizations to produce quality seed, and the Ministry of Eastern Africa Community Affairs that will take care of non-tariff barriers at the borders, among other actors.
Jagwe made the remarks last week while meeting actors in the grain sector at the Golf Course Hotel in Kampala. The meeting attracted officials from UNBS, MAAIF, TGCU, and the Warehouse Receipt System, among others.
Robert Mwanje, the chairman of the TGCU, said that under the project, members of the TGCU are supposed to evaluate themselves, and all processes leading to the production of an export-ready product.
“The project is about ensuring quality grains for the market through self-regulation.” “Sensitization meetings are ongoing, and we are sure that at the end of the project, the donor will support us in other areas that we shall soon present to them,” said Mwanje.
Commenting on the development, the deputy executive director of the UNBS, Patricia Ejalu, revealed that working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, they are finalizing a checklist for all grains leaving the country.
“We know the grain market is too informal, still at 80%, but We don’t want to continue with many informalities, they are causing us so many challenges, and we are losing so much. So the checklist will first be piloted among members of TGCU before spreading out to other grain traders” Ejalu elaborated.
Ejalu explained that some grain exporters and traders go for the quality mark when exiting the country, but this should be done prior. “The Q mark certification is not what you do at the exit, it is what you have already done, or what you do throughout the process,” she said.
At the same event, Dr Godfrey Asea, a maize breeder and director of research at the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), noted that to maintain the market challenges such as low usage of quality seed, which is at 40%, unstructured grain markets, and the quality of grains, among others, should be addressed for an increase in production to sustain the growing maize market.
The Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU) is a non-profit, membership organization registered in 2012 and brings together key stakeholders along the grain value chains.
The council strives to have the Uganda grains sub-sector become more efficient with effective players who will make Uganda grain more competitive and offers a platform for collaboration and coordination of activities in the grains sub-sector.
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