18th July , 2016
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with support from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute- Uganda (SEATINI) has developed the Uganda Sesame Standard, US 1628:2016 – Specification.
The Standard specifies the requirements, sampling and testing methods for human consumption. It also provides the guideline on packaging, labeling, and certification of the Sesame. The standard was approved by the National Standards Council on 28th June 2016.
Why Develop a Sesame Standard
Sesame commonly known as Simsim is one of the upcoming non-traditional exports in Uganda. The quantities of formal exports have risen by more than 300% from 12065 tons in 2010 to 40504 tons in 2014. This amounted to a rise of more than 400% export value from 12.8 million USD to 55.2 million USD (or 2.4% of exports share) in 2014.
The figures compare favorably against other popular non-traditional exports such as maize, beans, and legumes, or flowers which fetched 44.6 million USD; 26.2 million USD and 28.7 million USD respectively in 2014.
The Standard was launched by the Assistant Commissioner External Trade Cyprian Batala on behalf of the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperative Hon. Amelia Kyambadde on 14th July 2016 at Hotel African.
Speaking at the launch, the Commissioner congratulated UNBS for the efforts undertaken to developed standards amidst the meager resources.
“Uganda is the first East African Country to issue a Sesame Standard. This is good because over 77% of households in Northern Uganda produce Sesame, hence the need to standardize the sector”, he said.
Similarly, the SEATINI Country Director Ms. Jane Nalunga hailed UNBS for the job well done of developing the standard to tap into the lucrative market.
She, however, urged UNBS to heighten enforcement to ensure fairness trade.
The call was reechoed by the TMEA Country Director Moses Sabiiti who however noted that the public is now becoming more aware of the need for standards through UNBS sensitization campaigns supported by TMEA.
The lack of a Sesame Standard has for long hindered Uganda’s ability to maximize its access to lucrative markets such as Europe which have more stringent certification and standardization requirements. This is despite the fact the market for Uganda’s Sesame is high; China alone had a 91% increase in demand for Uganda’s Sesame in 2014. The Sesame Standard has therefore been developed to address this challenge.
The UNBS Executive Director Dr. Ben Manyindo appreciated the support rendered by all partners to develop the Standard amidst reaffirming UNBS commitment to execute its mandate.
What the Standard says.
According to the Standard under labeling requirements, the following labels shall be applied and shall be legibly and indelibly marked:
1. Product name "Sesame" should be indicated on the package
2. Name and Physical address of the producer, packer, importer, distributor,
3. Net weight in Kilograms,
4. Country of Origin,
5. Lot / batch / code number,
6. Statement, “Food for Human Consumption", should appear on the package,
7. Crop year,
8. Package Date and Best before date,
9. Storage Instruction as "Store in a cool dry place away from contaminants",
10. Instructions on disposal of used package
By Richard Luyombya