Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has reiterated the need for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Uganda to ensure their products meet the set standards and are certified.
During UNBS sensitizations of MSME owners dealing in cereals in Gulu and Mbale districts, UNBS Senior Certification Officer, Winnie Atugonza revealed that once the grace period for products categorized under mandatory standards elapses, the law that requires all food items to be certified before hitting the market will start to bite, and no one will be left untouched unless they conform to the standards and their products bear the ‘Q’ mark.
In Financial Year 2018/19, UNBS made the distinctive Mark ‘Q’ mark compulsory for all products with mandatory standards, and this law is already taking its course in Kampala, and is yet to be enforced in Gulu and Mbale districts.
The cereal dealers were thus trained on the importance of standards, certification and the certification process, to have them on board.
The training was made possible with support from Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda and Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA).
The trainees were tipped on how to handle cereals with reduced exposure to Aflatoxins because they are capable of causing cancer to the consumer.
They were also encouraged to keep quality monitoring records, cleaning records most especially those using machinery and maintenance records, because they are inspected by UNBS before a company’s products are certified.
The facilitators called for a joint effort in getting substandard products off the market, stating the consumer’s role as buying and consuming ONLY certified products.
Gulu District Commercial Officer, Oketta Kenneth Akena, called upon the cereal dealers to be mindful of quality and quantity of their products so as to maintain their customers and attract new ones for the survival of their businesses.
Nwoya District Agricultural Officer, Alfred Kilama asked the trainees to teach their colleagues who did not make it for the sessions.
As its mandate, UNBS continues to develop and promote standards, quality products and services to facilitate fair trade, promote local industries and protect consumers.