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UNBS Closes Over 20 Maize Mills in Gulu City For Noncompliance

According to Abongo, the operation specifically targeting maize mills follows the expiry of the six months’ ultimatum issued by the standards body in January this year to certify their products as well as meet all the requirements.
One of the Maize Mills that was Closed in Gulu City -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Uganda National Bureau of Standards –UNBS has closed over 20 maize mills in Gulu City citing non-compliance to the required standards.

The affected maize mills are found in Industrial Area, Forgod Parish, Lacor Centre and Kabedopong, all in Bardege-Layibi Division. The closure of the maize mills is part of the ongoing national operation by UNBS on the compulsory enforcement of standards and compliance to the use of distinctive mark regulation passed in 2018.

Peter Abongo, the Head of UNBS Market Surveillance in Gulu Regional Office told URN in an interview that the closed maize mills had no product certification, did not meet hygiene requirements, have dirty floors and roofs and lack personal protective equipment for the workers.

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According to Abongo, the operation specifically targeting maize mills follows the expiry of the six months’ ultimatum issued by the standards body in January this year to certify their products as well as meet all the requirements. The ultimatum expired in June this year, but a grace period was given until early this month.

He also revealed that the owners of the closed maize mills have been advised to meet the required standards before they are cleared to resume operations. Victoria Namutebi, the Public Relations Officer-PRO Uganda National Bureau Standards –UNBS, says that they have so far carried out a similar operation in the Eastern part of the country.  

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Namutebi revealed that UNBS wants to ensure that all the maize flour parked and sold in the country is clean and certified.

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The majority of the owners of the closed maize mills complained that they were not fully sensitized about the required standards while some of them, says that they were given a short time to comply with the standards.

Bosco Kidega, the Manager of Hakuna Matata Maize Miller in Bardege –Layibi Division in Gulu City told URN in an interview that the UNBS officials never visited his business to sensitize him on the required standards.

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The owner of Victory Millers, which was closed over poor hygiene and deceptive labels, says that he was already in the process of product certification. He says he was given only one week to get the product certification, which was inadequate.