By Prof. Makombo Jago Minyang Abaala
Certification implies that the Customer’s desirable Market standards and regulations are followed by the Producers, checked and can be verified and monitored overtime. It involves massive data gathering and management, extension and feedback.
Markets for Uganda Products are available in abundance but Producers must be organized in trainable and inspectable groups inorder to be Approved by these Most Lucrative Markets.
What Foreigners fear is Lack of Traceability. That is, if we found a RAT in a consignment of Maize from Uganda, this is not a problem as errors occur. The Problem is, can they KNOW at where Point along the distribution chain the Rat leaked into the Product so that they can help eliminate it? This is where Uganda scores In Negatives.
In Brazil, ALL farmers of ANYTHING are registered under a ‘Farmer Group” and ALL Agricultural and Industrial products from Brazil follow standards that lead to Certification. That is why Brazil sells everything everywhere on earth..
Certification simply involves exposing the Producers to a standards that they can strive to attain..
It’s NOT about PASSING.
The Customer is already aware that Uganda has a Child Labour Challenge,,,,,but what they Hate is Buying from a group of Producers who are doing Nothing about it….
These rules are simple and fall under 4 categories mainly..
1.Management Organize (Here, the Muzungu customer Expects you to Manage the Group as an ethical Business not fwaaaa like most Ugandan Farmers..No keeping even records)
2.Social aspects (NO market in Europe or US or Taiwan will buy any produce where child labour, domestic violence etc is NOT being proactively FOUGHT.
3.Environment. (No Foreign Modern Market shall buy UG Agriculture produce whose Production Destroys the Environment.)
4.Farming Practices (Bazungu need to know what Spacing, time of planting, variety of seed etc you used)..
As in, imagine you are a Cook, and you have a Customer whose Food You Cook while they are LOOKING at you from the beginning of fire making to their Plate…
Before the Above is Achieved, Uganda shall only be exporting ‘easy to certify” products like Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Tobacco and Fish..
Maize, Cassava, Bananas, Milk, Sugar Cane Honey etc shall continue to be produced in large quantities and they excess will Rot,,,, ..
Until the Maize (and other food crops and Products) farmers are FORCED, coerced or Motivated into a Certifiable and Traceable Database and System Like all UG Coffee Farmers are today…
The author is the former Agricultural Product Certification Manager, Expert and Consultant. (OLAM-Coffee, ESCO (u) Ltd-Cocoa, Vanilla, Moringa, Chia, Chilli)
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