The South Sudan Ambassador to Uganda, Simon Juach, said traders have resumed exporting maize to South Sudan after stopping supplies for over three months due to perceived lengthy procedures taken by the South Sudan authorities in addressing food safety concerns.
The resumption follows an agreement between the Bureau of Standards of both countries to normalise the export of Uganda’s maize to South Sudan on the condition that Kampala places strict regulations on the equality of its exports.
Jauch, who was interviewed by a Ugandan TV station, said the differences that developed in May 2023 concerning the test conducted by the South Sudan Bureau of Standards were resolved after the two bureau standards met.
“The situation that developed in May regarding the test that was carried out by the South Sudan Bureau of Standards, where it found that some of the consignments had a high level of aflatoxin, was finally resolved after the two bureaus of standard of the business community sat down,” Juach said.
He said the situation resulted from the fact that some people were found buying food from unregistered maize 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,” he said.
“So, it was resolved that, before this grain crosses into South Sudan, the Uganda Bureau of Standard will have to certify that they passed the quality checks and therefore will have no problem that has the agreement, and since then nothing has been happening,” he added.
In May 2023, the South Sudan Bureau of Standards held 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 to have high aflatoxin after the grains was subjected to several laboratory tests by the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin produced by certain mould 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 posed a cancer risk.