UGANDA—The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has confiscated 700 bags of underweight sugar from V.G Keshwala and Sons Limited in Soroti district.  

This action follows public complaints regarding underweight sugar packed in Kakira branded sacks. Upon inspection, UNBS found the packaging material had been tampered with, as the inner polyethylene layer contained holes. 

In addition to the sugar seizure, UNBS also seized underweight bread from Supa Loaf’s outlets in Mbarara City and Wakiso district, as well as from Jonisa bread in various supermarkets.  

The management and owners of the implicated businesses have reported to UNBS for further interrogation. Prosecutions are expected for the possession and distribution of underweight pre-packaged goods. 

The UNBS emphasized that packing, selling, possessing, or holding for sale underweight pre-packaged goods is a legal offense, violating the UNBS Act as amended in 2013, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Weights and Measures (Sale and Labeling of Goods) (Amendment) Rules 2020.  

The bureau has urged all manufacturers, importers, and traders of pre-packaged goods to adhere strictly to these laws and rules.  

Additionally, UNBS encouraged consumers to demand safe, certified, quality products and report any dealers of substandard goods. 

Concurrently, Jim Mwine Kabeho, Chairperson of the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA), has revealed a decline in sugar exports, which have dropped to 30,000 tonnes from 150,000 tonnes exported about two years ago.  

This reduction in export volumes is attributed to a shortage of sugarcane, which he describes as a long-term challenge in the sugar sector, forcing factories last year to operate at half capacity. 

However, Kabeho noted that manufacturers have increased their installed machine capacity to produce over one million tonnes annually, with a focus now on boosting export volumes.  

“The installed capacity of factories currently can produce 1.2 million tonnes of sugar annually,” Kabeho stated, highlighting that the shortage of cane has led to weighbridges being run by unqualified individuals, resulting in farmers being cheated. 

Kabeho also disclosed that the Sugar Council is set to amend the Sugar Act (2020), which he cited as a challenge for the sector, prompting the USMA to shift to a Sugar Council.  

He emphasized the importance of the Council in managing the industry, controlling the actions of farmers and millers, and addressing climate change through irrigation and smart farming practices. 

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