South Sudan, Uganda resolve standoff over maize flour

Maize Flour
Maize Flour

South Sudan and Uganda on Friday announced that they have resolved differences over trade in maize flour and other grains.

In June 2023, South Sudan’s National Bureau of Standards impounded about 65 trucks carrying maize flour and other grain products en route to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, from Uganda after they had been tested and confirmed to contain aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins mainly affect grains during storage due to poor drying, which leads to mold attack that causes the toxic substance.

Kuorwel Kuai Kuorwel, chairperson of South Sudan’s National Bureau of Standards, said that they had agreed that the Uganda National Bureau of Standards would certify all goods coming to South Sudan in a bid to combat high levels of aflatoxins in food.

“We have resolved to make sure that all importers from South Sudan and exporters from Uganda ensure that all goods that are coming from Uganda are to be certified by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards,” Kuorwel told journalists after a meeting with his Ugandan counterpart in the Nimule border town near Uganda.

He said that the two countries also agreed to harmonize quality standards to allow free movement of goods between the two countries.

“We will have a technical team that will ensure that the method of analysis, the sampling, and testing are harmonized so that whatever result we get from Uganda, South Sudan will also have confidence,” he said.

Kuorwel said that they will impound repackaged food products without standardization certificates at the Nimule border. The South Sudanese official said that the two countries will join hands to create awareness and seek ways to discourage traders from sale of repackaged products. “We will always make sure that the technical matters are handled by the technical team so that we don’t take technical issues to the level of bringing politics into it,” he said.

Nangalama Daniel Richard, acting executive director for the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, said they will create awareness among traders on how to handle food products to avoid contamination.

“We shall engage other actors like from agriculture grain council and elsewhere to see that the whole thing is holistic, including sensitization, awareness on standards and good practices right from the farm up to this level,” Daniel said, promising that they will sensitize the business community from both countries and empower and educate people on how to combat aflatoxins in food.

“We shall make sure that we support our business community on both sides so that they are aware, and we have also noticed that this exercise has helped us to know what the problem was,” Daniel said. “We totally believe as Uganda National Bureau of Standards, we shall support this because products which come in this country are not only consumed by South Sudanese but also our people who are here and international residents in this country.”

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