Contract Signing for State-Of-The-Art National Metrology Laboratory Construction

Entebbe, 24th November 2020. Agriculture is one of the fastest-growing sectors and in the last financial year, it registered a 4.8% growth. This is partly attributed to government aspiration to transform 68% subsistence farmers into commercial farmers.

However, to achieve a sustainable commercialisation of the sector, government has to overcome the development bottleneck of capital flight. One such exodus of capital is the testing and certification of products for export, which has hitherto been conducted outside of Uganda.

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.

Mr. Pius Wakabi Kasajja, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries speaking during the events at the Ministry Headquarters in Entebbe.

The Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme (AVCP) – Project 1 has completed the procurement of a firm to construct the National Metrology Laboratory at Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

The laboratory will 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.

Uganda National Bureau of Standards Ag. Executive Director (Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru) was in attendance at the event and noted that, “this is a much-needed intervention and will go a long way to ease our work in certifying quality products for export.”

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.

An artistic impression of the laboratory.

Mr. Pius Wakabi 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.

Notes for editors

About the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is a Ministry in the Government of Uganda charged with creating an enabling environment in the Agricultural Sector.

The Ministry formulates, reviews and implement national policies, plans, strategies, regulations and standards and enforce laws, regulations and standards along the value chain of crops, livestock and fisheries.

Vision: A competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector.

Mission: To transform subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

Strategic Objectives

  • To initiate the formulation and review of the policy and legal framework for the sector
  • To establish and implement systems for service provision in the sector
  • To strengthen and implement strategies, regulatory framework, standards, institutional structures and infrastructure for quality assurance and increased quantities of agricultural products to access and sustain local, regional and export markets
  • To design and implement sustainable capacity building programmes for stakeholders in the agricultural sector through training, re-tooling, infrastructure, provision of logistics and ICT
  • To develop strategies for sustainable food security
  • To develop appropriate agricultural technologies for improved agricultural production, productivity and value addition through research
  • To develop effective collaborative mechanisms with affiliated institutions and
  • To take lead and establish a system and institutional framework for agricultural data collection, analyses, storage and dissemination to stakeholders including Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is made up of four Directorates including the Directorate of Crop Resources, Directorate of Animal Resources, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services and the Directorate of Fisheries Resources each with Departments, Divisions and Partnership Projects.

The Departments of the Ministry which do not fall directly in the above include the Department of Agricultural Planning and Development, the Human Resource Department, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production.

The Ministry is also made up of seven Agencies including the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Cotton Development Organisation (CDO), Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanosomiasis in Uganda (COCTU) and the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank (NAGRC&DB).