Member-based organizations in Uganda like the Mbale Industrial Area Millers Association (MIAMA) are constrained by limited organizational capacity, limited access to finance, poor relationship with the regulatory agencies and, limited awareness of quality standards and certification processes. MIAMA, which operates in Mbale City, has a membership of 92 mill operators, mostly involved in milling maize, rice, cassava flour, millet, and other combination products. The Association members work collectively to address key challenges affecting their businesses and share information and opportunities.
While the MIAMA members are involved in food processing, there are significant challenges in the quality and safety of the food processed and traded by these millers. The USAID-funded Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity, through consulting partner, The Link Agency East Africa (TLAEA), has supported MIAMA to develop business strategies that will help the association to serve its members effectively. The Activity also partnered with Food Safety Associates, and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to conduct regional-based sector-wide trainings targeting grain millers to create awareness on cereal standards and recommended hygienic and manufacturing practices aiming to help millers produce safe and certified quality products that meet the demand of premium markets.
Today, 13 maize millers under MIAMA have received UNBS certification due to FtF IAM’s support and are reporting increased sales to institutional markets as a result of the certification.
“I didn’t know that it was possible for milling businesses with small facilities to get a UNBS quality mark. But after the training with FtF IAM and Food Safety Associates (FSA), I applied what they taught us to my small facility, and I got the UNBS quality mark that will enable my maize flour to reach quality markets,” said Edward Balifedi, Proprietor of Baife Millers and a member of MIAMA.
MIAMA’s record-keeping has also greatly improved. This has increased confidence and trust among its membership resulting in members agreeing to save UGX 600,000 (USD 163) per saving cycle, up 50 percent from UGX 300,000 (USD 81).
“We really appreciate USAID Feed the Future for building our capacity to work as a sustainable business entity.”
Harriet Wanyoto Chairperson, MIAMA.
Moving forward, FtF IAM will continue to link MIAMA to other market actors for quality raw materials and markets.
Author: Dorothy Nabatanzi for FtF IAM.