By Nancy Akullo
Cooperatives can expect to attract more reliable market, local and foreign, as the warehousing Standard for bagged cereals and pulses takes effect.
Developed through consultation with major stakeholders, the Standard was launched by the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority (UWRSA) on 25 September 2018.
The objective of the Standard is to promote; commodity exchange in the region, and the functioning of the Warehouse Receipt System, through providing guidance on appropriate storage practices.
In an interview with thecooperator Magazine, Ms. Deborah Kyarasiime, the Executive Director of UWRSA said the Standard was launched to address incoherence issues regarding storage.
“Uganda has so much storage. But not all of our storage is up to food storage standard. Yet food cannot be kept anywhere. The Standard was developed to address warehousing gaps that ultimately affect the value of commodities,” Ms. Kyarasiime said.
“Also, it was not proper for us to make recommendations to warehouse owners, without proper basis,” she added.
According to Ms. Kyarasiime, the major warehousing gaps are; inadequate ventilation, improper drainage and insufficient amenities such as hand washing points, changing rooms for staff, laboratories, offices and toilets.
The new Standard comprehensively address the issues. It provides specifications with regard to; location, structure, safety, management, pest control and record keeping. According to the Standard, building materials must conform to the National Building Regulations and Standards. Floors must be elevated and smooth (with no cracks), and translucent roofing sheets are advised as opposed to iron sheets and roofing tiles.
Ms. Kyarasiime urged cooperatives to own the standard and drive implementation. She said compliance will reduce postharvest losses and increase household income.
Mr. Francis Muhindo, the Assistant Warehouse Manager of Nyakatonzi Growers Cooperative Union, a warehousing service provider in Kasese said, “The new standard will promote quality produce standards at both indigenous and international levels which will attract more reliable markets for farmers’ products.”
Warehousing minimizes the effects price fluctuations by storing goods when supply exceeds demand and availing goods when demand exceeds supply. Through the Warehouse Receipt System, goods stored in a warehouse can be used as collateral for loans.