Grains dealers are protesting the delayed and costly testing process of cancer-causing aflatoxin slapped on the imported grains from the regional countries.
According to importers, every truck ferrying the grains from the region is subjected to the tests of the aflatoxin, the process which is by the law have to be completed after 48 hours but now takes over weeks.
The grains dealers said that the process, which is currently taking up to two weeks without the feedback from the Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA) and Rwanda Standard Bureau (RSB), is affecting their operations.
“They took my samples on April 17 but but until April 26, no response yet; and the truck has to remain untouched during the whole time of waiting for the response” said Justin Marechal, a grains dealer in Kigali.
“Having the process takes longer time than expected, it is affecting our businesses because as businessmen, we would like the quick service. Under the current framework, we have to stop the operations for the entire period of waiting, despite we have other operational expenses to meet,” he added. This is despite the fact that the RSB regulations indicate that the cancer-causing testing should not take longer than 48 hours.
“With the current testing procedures and the cost, the dealers are now hesitant of importing ore supplies, which will remain in the stores,” said Noel Habimana, grains imported in Kigali city.
Officials from the testing, agencies blame the situation on the high demand of the services compared to the installed handling capacity.
Esperance Uwumukiza, acting director-general of the RICA called on the dealers to work with the country of origin to comply with the domestic standard regulations that are required for grains import to cut short the testing time.