From February 28 – March 3, the Hub supported its new grantee the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) to conduct a regional meeting on staple foods quality standards. The objective of the meeting was to discuss and incorporate feedback from a December 2016 public review of the existing East African Community (EAC) grain standards, which were harmonized and gazetted in 2013, but later found to be lacking in certain parameters. For example, the standards did not account for broken rice, a critical quality standard for regional trade.
To identify additional shortcomings in the current standards, the EAGC conducted a gap analysis study. They found technical gaps, inconsistent sampling and test methods, limited capacity for graders, lack of visual guides and lack of standards awareness materials. The EAGC, the Hub, and EAC Secretariat are now working together to address these gaps.
Forty-one participants, representing the public and private sectors from all five EAC Partner States, and including technical experts and hands-on practitioners of the standards attended the meeting. Meeting participants reviewed and approved revised standards for milled rice, dry soybeans, maize, wheat, beans and flour (maize, wheat, millet and sorghum flour). All the approved standards will be subjected to editing and then forwarded to the EAC Standards Quality Management Committee for endorsement, after which they will be presented to the EAC Council of Ministers for adoption as EAC standards 2017. The editorial process is set to start early April 2017.
The Hub is supporting EAC harmonization and implementation of staple foods quality standards to improve the quality and consistency of grain within each Partner State, thus making regional grain trade easier.