Kiryandongo to enact ‘Maize Quality Ordinance’ over poor harvest

Issa Hassan Byenkya the Kiryandongo District Production and Marketing Officer (DPMO) addressing the stakeholders during a consultative meeting on the maize quality ordinance 

Kiryandongo, (UG):- Leaders in Western Uganda’s Kiryandongo District are preparing a new law on agricultural production dubbed ‘Maize Quality Ordinance’ which aims to tackle the increasing poor harvest in the area.

The development follows a recent report from UBOS and the District production office which indicated that poor post-harvest handling practices are contributing to a 40% loss and increased aflatoxins in maize grains.

The maize quality ordinance according to authorities is meant to enforce good postharvest handling among the farmers to ensure good quality maize fit for human consumption is produced.

According to Issa Hassan Byenkya the DPMO Kiryandongo, the biggest challenge in maize production is persistent mishandling of the maize grain and its products along the value chain characterised by poor drying on bare ground, poor bagging and premature harvest which facilitate aflatoxins.

Mr Byenkya added that it is very important to ensure quality maize production so as not to compromise the health of consumers.

“You better starve now than eating contaminated maize. This will save you from suffering in future. Even animals should not be fed on contaminated maize because you will eat the animals with poison,” he said.

Ms Edith Aliguma, the Kiryandongo District Chairperson emphasised the need for clean maize which will appreciate maize valve and improve on the livelihoods of the people of Kiryandongo.

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She noted an improvement in post-harvest handling as a result of the Agriculture Cluster Development Project-ACDP which provided tarpaulins. Ms Aliguma decried bad post-harvest handling practices where some farmers slash fresh maize tops for quick drying and fumigation while in the store which threatens the life of consumers.

Jonathan Akweteireho the Deputy RDC Kiryandongo noted that South Sudan’s rejection of Uganda’s maize was a shame and called for action to improve the post-harvest handling of maize. He commended the district leadership for coming up with the ordinance which will address maize quality.

Akweteireho added that the ordinance will be a legal instrument to enforce quality maize production and deter schools from feeding the children on contaminated posho.

“Some schools do not mind the quality of posho they give to our children. The majority go for third-grade posho because it is cheap. So this ordinance will help us to eliminate poor quality maize on the market,“ he said.

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Akweteireho further called upon the scientists to come up with sustainable solutions to promote organic farming as opposed to the use of chemicals.

DailyExpress learnt from the official figures and statistics that Kiryandongo produces 160,000 tons of maize per year and only 40% is locally consumed locally within the district.

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