Ministry of Agriculture has completed the procurement of a firm to construct the National Metrology Laboratory at Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
Under the Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme (AVCP), the lab is hoped to ensure that the equipment in the National Food Safety Laboratory and other agro-food processing laboratories in the country are calibrated to ensure accurate measurement and reliable test results to support exports and consumer safety.
The successful contractor (Prisma Limited) represented by (Mr. Francis Olul) expressed their gratitude and renewed confidence in the public procurement processes as they reiterated their commitment to deliver the laboratory within 18 months to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
Speaking at the event, Uganda National Bureau of Standards Ag. Executive Director Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru said “this is a much-needed intervention and will go a long way to ease our work in certifying quality products for export.”
According to the ministry, the procurement of another firm to undertake the Supervision of the Construction of the National Metrology Laboratory has also been completed. This means that all is set for the construction works to commence immediately.
Government in partnership with the African Development Bank, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is implementing the Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme (AVCP) – Project 1, whose primary objective will respond to this challenge. The project will increase the competitiveness of four commodity value chains of maize, rice, dairy and beef, where farming households and other value chain actors in 47 districts spread across the country will be supported to systematically and sustainably access quality inputs.
The project will also strengthen farmer groups and form cooperatives; link the cooperatives to aggregators and processors; and, among other activities, support the certification process to ensure that the final products from processors meet the quality requirements of the internal and external markets. These 4 commodities cumulatively earned Uganda income from exports totalling USD 312 million (UGX 1.14 trillion) in 2019.
“Uganda has hitherto been disadvantaged in her agricultural produce export journey, with the need to have factory and laboratory equipment calibrated in Kenya and South Africa, which increases the cost of exports, making our products less competitive than those of the other countries. This National Metrology Laboratory, once constructed, will reduce the cost of exports and positively impact our national doing business index,” said Mr. Pius Wakabi Kasajja, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
Kasajja applauded the African Development Bank for their commitment to partner with the Government in the promotion of the 14 priority interventions that will accentuate the real economy.