RWANDA – The Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) has received a US$1 million fund aimed at facilitating the standards body adopt global practices and improve service delivery to enhance food safety and trade.
The fund comes through a financing agreement between Trademark East Africa and RSB in Kigali, Rwanda, reports New Times Rwanda.
The financing is set to facilitate stakeholders across various sectors to attain international standard requirements in food safety of local agricultural products, subsequently opening up access to wider markets both regionally and internationally.
According to officials from RSB, the fund will also enable the standards body integrate automated processes among other interventions that will improve service delivery and increase customer satisfaction.
RSB also seeks to develop a seven year strategic plan that will guide RSB in keeping up with global best practices in standards for international sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS).
“We want to ensure that we support standards and certifications to leverage the trading platforms and the improved physical and digital infrastructure,” said Patience Mutesi, TMEA Country Director.
Officials also said the emphasis was put in agriculture given that the sector accounts for 33% of Rwanda’s GDP and employs 72% of the working population.
“As productivity increases and regional and global tariff barriers are eliminated, standards and SPS issues tend to rise in prominence, given countries’ commitment to safeguard public health, animal health and environment.
We would like to ensure that RSB and the country in general are not affected by technical barriers that may arise as a result,” Mutesi added.
The standard body said it will also upgrade its laboratories and the management information system to improve exchange of information with stakeholders which will reduce the testing time from seven days to two days.
According to Raymond Murenzi, RSB Director General, they are committed to support the private sector comply with standards and access markets in the region and beyond.
“Internally we are keen to improve on our service delivery model and our commitment to ensuring not only consumer safety but trade facilitation,” he said.
The official noted that at least 90 enterprises including SMES are expected to comply with ISO 22000 by 2023, while 40 others will get an additional certification in specific food chains in compliance with ISO 22000 in the same period.