South Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda said traders from the neighboring country have resumed exporting maize after halting supplies for over three months due to measures taken by South Sudan authorities to address food safety concerns.
The trade resumption follows an agreement between the Bureau of Standards of both countries to normalize the export of Uganda’s maize to South Sudan on condition that Kampala places strict regulations on the quality of its exports.
Ambassador Simon Juach Deng said in an interview with NTV Uganda that only the companies and traders registered with and are certified by the Uganda Bureau of Standards will be allowed to export grains into the markets of South Sudan.
According to him, the measure is to ensure the safety and quality of maize imports to protect consumers in South Sudan from potential health risks.
“The situation that developed in May regarding to the test that was carried out by the South Sudan Bureau of Standard where it had found that some of the consignments had a high level of Aflatoxin, was finally resolved after the two Bureau of Standard and the business community sat down,” Juach said.
In May 2023, South Sudan Bureau of Standards impounded 62 Uganda trucks loaded with maize grains after a lab test found the items contained dangerous chemicals.
A South Sudanese clearance official at the Nimule border point said samples from the shipment were confirmed with high aflatoxin after the grains were subjected to several laboratory tests by the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin produced by certain mold species that can contaminate crops and pose health risks to humans and animals if consumed.
In February 2023, Ugandan food scientists found that maize, sorghum and groundnuts produced locally pose a cancer risk.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Juach said the situation resulted from the practice of buying from unregistered producers.
“It was also found that some of these people were really not buying from registered grain producers they were just picking from the markets so it was resolved that, before this grain cross into South Sudan the Uganda Bureau of Standard will have to certify them that they passed the quality, and therefore will have no problem, that has the agreement and since then nothing has been happening.”