The Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the Directorate of Fisheries Resources (DFR) with support from the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN), a project funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, have developed a set of simplified guidelines for the fishing industry.
The guidelines will provide basic information on the laws, regulations, procedures and principles for addressing safety and quality of fish products. The guidelines will also be applied during handling, preparation (such as drying), processing, packaging, storage, transport and marketing of fish.
During the hand-over ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in Entebbe, the Acting Director of Fisheries Resources, Ms. Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko, thanked UNBS, the British Government and the CSN project for simplifying the standards into guidelines and translating them to languages that will be easily understood by the users.
“Markets have standards. You may want to trade your fish but if you do not meet the standards, you can fail to penetrate the market. With the simplified guidelines, we look forward to penetrating the European market,” Ms. Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko added.
24,000 individual books of illustrated guidelines were presented by UNBS to DFR, covering best practices for the handling and processing of Mukene, Smoked Fish, Fresh Fish, Nile Tilapia and Fish Maws.
According to UNBS Deputy Executive Director- standards Ms Patricia Bageine Ejalu, the documented set contains the entire chain of fishing activities which will help fish inspectors train fishermen and fish handlers on primary processing of fish which will in turn increase its competitiveness at local and international level.
“As UNBS, we want to improve the quality of products in Uganda especially fish; much as we are focusing on the export market, we must make sure that the quality of fish in Uganda meets both national and international standards,” Ms Patricia Bageine Ejalu said.
She also revealed that the guidelines have been translated to Luganda, Leb- Lango and Swahili and this is expected to help the users understand what exactly is required and how best they can implement them.
Further assistance will be provided to DFR by the Commonwealth Standards Network in the form of posters that can be displayed at fish landing sites to remind fisherfolk of the best practices they must follow.
UNBS continues to perform its mandate of developing, promoting and enforcing standards in protection of public health and safety, and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products.