Grain trade in the East Africa region is set to increase following gazettement of new revised harmonised East African Community (EAC) Staple foods standards 2017.
Value chain players, under leadership of the East African Grain Council (EAGC), recently in Nairobi launched 11 standards designed for staple foods, sampling and test methods.
EAGC executive director Gerald Masila says following application of the gazetted standards, farmers will access better and larger markets, while consumers will enjoy safe and high quality grain products.
The gazetted East African standards, which will be domesticated in each East African Community (EAC) partner states, were launched and handed over for implementation during the EAGC end of year Members’ Forum held in Nairobi last month.
EAC Principal Secretary Betty Maina said the East African Community Standards for Cereals and Pulses were first gazetted by the EAC in 2013.
But, the standards Maina said, could not be implemented to realise structured grain trade within the region owing to constraints such as safety and quality requirements, sampling and testing methods.
“These gaps necessitated a review, a process that has culminated to the new revised harmonised 2017 EAC staple foods standards,” she added.
The nine priority product standards reviewed were maize, wheat, milled rice, dry beans, dry soybeans, maize flour, wheat flour, sorghum flour and millet flour.
Some of the parameters addressed through the revision of the standards were moisture content levels, discolouration of grains, aflatoxin, among others.
EAGC, with support from Development partners including Swedish International Development Agency, Sida, USaid, DFID, CTA, among others, has been partnering with the EAC in the standards harmonisation process for cereals, pulses, and their products since 2010 and has mobilised and committed resources and grain stakeholder participation in the process.