ZIMBABWE – The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nestle Zimbabwe for scientific and technical cooperation.

SAZ director-general Eve Gadzikwa said they have entered into partnership with Nestle, which is the number one organisation in terms of food quality.

“The relationships that we have with our various stakeholders are very strategic in nature.

This one that we have in particular, with Nestle, we believe that they are the number one organisation when it comes to food quality, not only in Africa but in the world,” she said.

“…to that extent that because we are in the process of refurbishing a new facility for the national standards body we felt that it was important for us to take a look at what Nestle was doing not only in Zimbabwe but internationally.”

Last year, SAZ celebrated 60 years, which Gadzikwa said illustrated that the body has a very strong track record in standardisation.

“Obviously, we aspire to continuously improve and some of the areas where we have gaps, we would like to work with people like Nestle because we do believe that they have the experience curve,” she said.

The MoU will involve Nestle Zimbabwe sharing laboratory analytical methods and capacity building with SAZ, focusing on scientific and technical information processes in making food safe.

These processes will cover common technical laboratory testing of some products and common roles in the enhancement of product safety and quality through the use of and application of standards.

Nestle Zimbabwe managing director Ben Ndiaye said the benefit of this MoU for them was ensuring consumer safety and strengthening their compliance with the standards in Zimbabwe.

“We talk about creating shared values for Nestle which is important for Nestle because it is not just about doing business.

We believe that if we do business it has to create also and mean something for the society where we are operating and this is one of the creating shared value concept which Nestle has by making sure we share knowledge with the key stakeholders…” he said.

Ndiaye said over the last eight years his company has invested about US$38 million in their local operations.

According to Gadzikwa, there is a National Quality Infrastructure policy that is soon coming into effect which will specify the kind of institutions that operate and how they will operate in Zimbabwe.

The policy will create the Zimbabwe Compulsory Regulatory Authority which will have regulatory powers in standardisation and quality of goods, separate from SAZ which operate on a volunteer basis.