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Market information System/Uganda - National Bureau of Standards adopts E-tag system to check fake farm inputs

10 January 2016

Uganda has tightened the fight against counterfeit and substandard agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers, chemicals among other items flooding Ugandan market by launching the E-tag electronic verification system. According to Dr. Ben Manyindo, the Chief Executive Officer, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, during the launching of E-tag system, proliferation of substandard agro inputs in Ugandan market is very high across the country thus not only causing economic loss, but also leading to destruction of livelihoods. He reveled that Uganda loses $1.5 billion of revenue in fake agricultural inputs each year which experts say will be saved by the E-tag system and further gives the country opportunity to generate an extra $1billion revenue into the economy. E-tag system is a local new user friendly electronic verification technology developed by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to help consumers and traders in Uganda and in the region verify the legitimacy of agricultural inputs using their mobile phones. The brains behind this technology, Collins Nuwagira, UNBS Officer in charge E-tag technology said the fight against counterfeits and substandard agro inputs has been challenging because one cannot tell where and what a counterfeit agro input is or looks like. According to UNBS Officer in charge E-tag technology revealed that E-tag verification system helps to identify counterfeits and substandard agricultural inputs from the very first stage of the value chain. In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and other agricultural input certifying organizations in Uganda, each and every agricultural input produced or sold in the local market will be assigned and stack with scratch code just like in the airtime recharge card. Using a mobile phone, a farmer or trader will scratch the code stacked on the agro input, he/she will begin by dialing *114# choose a language option followed by digit code scratched out from agro input, followed by# and sends to 114. A message indicating that the agro input is a genuine certified product will be sent back to the user. The same applies if that product is counterfeit or substandard, a message alerting the consumer or trader about the product will be received. The service is free of charge and accessible any time. E-tag system benefits all actors in agricultural value chain, by assuring consumers about the right product, while increasing brand visibility for both manufacturers and traders.



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