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Boosting Uganda’s Agriculture: Students Trained on SPS Issues at Makerere University

Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in Partnership with Hortifresh, giz, and German co-operation have held student training on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) issues at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science of Makerere University on 6th April 2024.

Several Agricultural Inspectors have graced the training from the Ministry of Agriculture and also Dr. Akello Robert from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University.

The main objective of this training was to equip students with agricultural skills, give them exposure to what happens outside, and also to teach them how to improve the export and import of agricultural produce.

While talking to the students, Mr. Patrick Kirongo, one of the senior Agricultural Inspectors in the Ministry of Agriculture emphasized that exports are vital but let’s not forget about the imports and also called for the safety of human beings, animals, fish, and plants.

He taught about the roles of the Department of Crops Inspection and Certification which included Policy formulation where policies are sent to the parliament for amendments and then later sent back for implementation, Export or Import compliance regulation export or import and interpretation of various International trade laws, standards and requirements.

He also outlined the requirements to trade in plant products which included having a registered company, being aware of import country requirements or conditions through acquiring a plant import permit, and registering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.

Dr. Sam Alexander, a senior inspector of Agriculture said that Sanitary and phytosanitary measures are sanitary and non-sanitary which are applied to protect human or animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins, or diseases causing organisms in their food.

He added that Sanitary and phytosanitary measures include Prohibitions which include tolerance limits for residues and restricted use of substances, treatment for elimination of plant and animal pests and diseases causing organisms in the final stage, and also labeling. He also taught the pest status in trade which included quarantine pests where pests are absent from the area or present but under control and also regulated non-quarantine pests that can be present in an area for example Fall Armyworm, false coding moth, and tomato pinworm.

Mr. Alex Otut, senior inspector from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries talked about how agricultural chemicals can be regulated, including registering agricultural chemicals dealers and premises, inspection of commercial farms, and accreditation of scientists to conduct trials.

Kisuule Ismael, a student at Makerere University doing a bachelor’s in Agriculture and Rural Innovation and the Academic Minister at the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences said that students have been equipped with skills, knowledge, and exposure to what happens outside in farms which will help students to guide farmers whom they can easily access on how to improve on there agricultural products. He also added that farmers tend to neglect post-stage crop production and they end up harvesting poor-quality products that can not be exported .

The training was organized by Hortifresh the umbrella association of growers, exporters, and input service providers of fresh fruits and vegetables in Uganda under the SEAMPEC Project funded by GIZ intending to reduce interception and boost food safety.

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