Following an increase in wet weather conditions in the country, the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has urged local government authorities to develop by-laws to secure grain from getting contaminated with germs that causes ill health.
“We need to work together to produce more safe marketable food and fibre for a healthy prosperous and happy nation. I therefore appeal to the local government leaders to formulate and enforce appropriate ordinances and by-laws on grain post-harvest handling and food safety,” said Ssempijja.
Research has proven that poor handling of grain such as maize, g-nuts, millet and other cereal grains including drying on bare ground attracts fungi to enter the grain which in turn make toxic chemicals also known as aflatoxins that can kill people when eaten.
Ssempijja noted that they are not leaving the war on food safety to LCs but that his ministry is also making deliberate efforts to ensure food safety.
“We’re also looking forward to coming up with laws on food safety and cleanliness because serving dirty food is equivalent to serving poison,” revealed Ssempijja.
He advised the farmers to “Avoid shelling maize through beating with sticks because this method damages the grains,” he said.
“The grains develop moulds that produce dangerous toxins such as Aflatoxins that cause liver cancer in humans and reduces production and productivity of animals,” said Ssempijja.
While addressing a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday, Ssempijja showed concern over fake seeds that may hit market as their demand for the march to May 2020 season rises.
In regard to this, Ssempijja revealed that MAAIF came up with various measures of ensuring the seeds on market are of quality and advised farmers to avoid falling victims of inequality seeds.
“The Ministry developed a tamper-proof label for ascertaining the quality of certified seed. Farmers are therefore advised to look out for seed that bears a MAAIF tamper-proof label which is either blue or green in colour,” Ssempijja revealed.
Ssempijja also cautioned farmers to seek advice from agricultural officials at the sub county level on certified service providers.