The government is helping private warehouse owners improve the quality of grain stored in Uganda. This support comes through the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority.
The goal is to strengthen Uganda’s position in the global export market. The Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority stated this during a visit to the Tonga Investment grain facility in Mubende District. This facility is currently undergoing renovations to meet warehouse receipt standards.
Ms. Deborah Kyarasiime, the managing director of the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, explained that there have been challenges related to the quality of Ugandan grain raised by international importers. To address this, the government is assisting selected grain handling facilities and traders in meeting internationally recognized standards.
She stated, “We have noticed that many participants in this sector buy and sell grain without following professional standards. Our current effort is to introduce these standards, and those who meet them will receive licenses.”
Under the warehouse receipt system, farmers gather their produce, sometimes through cooperatives, and store it in officially licensed warehouses. They are then provided with receipts that can be used to find markets or as collateral for obtaining funding.
Tonga Investment is one of the grain facilities receiving government support through the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority. This assistance aims to improve grain storage services for farmers in the Mityana area.
Concerns about the quality of Uganda’s maize have been raised by grain dealers and recipient countries like Kenya and South Sudan. Ms. Kyarasiime attributed part of this issue to inadequate post-harvest handling. She mentioned, “In addition to licensing, the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority will also support some warehouse operators in developing facilities that meet the required standards.”
Mr. Robert Mwanje, the managing director of Tonga Investments, highlighted some of the support they are receiving. This includes the installation of a weighbridge, cleaner, and grain dryer. He emphasized that farmers are the ultimate beneficiaries of these investments, as they will have access to clean and standardized storage facilities for their produce.
Mr. Mwanje, who also serves as the chairman of the Uganda Grain Council, mentioned that they are actively encouraging farmers nationwide to utilize standardized storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses.
Through a public-private sector collaboration, the government is working with private warehouse owners to provide grain warehousing services throughout the country. The aim is to increase farmers’ income, improve grain quality, and establish Uganda as a significant grain producer and exporter.