UNBS to build Shs22.6b regional testing labs

Mr Aziz Mukota (C), the UNBS manager testing services, shows around officials during the launch of the Food Safety Testing Laboratory in Gulu City last week works. Photo|Courtesy

What you need to know:

  •  Mr David Ebiru, the UNBS executive director, said the move seeks to decentralise quality assurance and reduction of cost of business

At least $6m (Shs22.6b) will be injected in regional Food Safety Testing Laboratories in northern, eastern and western Uganda, according to Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). 
Speaking at the launch of one of the laboratories in Gulu City last week, Mr David Ebiru, the UNBS executive director, said the move seeks to decentralise quality assurance and reduction of cost of business. 

The initiative, which is supported by VODP through Ministry of Agriculture and the Danish government, trough Trade Mark East Africa, seeks to enhance quality and standards by enabling micro, small and medium enterprises across the country to access testing services. 
The Gulu City Food Safety Testing Laboratory will provide testing and certification services to nine districts in West Nile and 17 in northern Uganda, while others, which will be established in Mbala and Mbarara, will serve eastern and western Uganda.  

Mr Ebiru said by moving laboratories to the countryside where majority of micro, small and medium enterprises are based, the cost of doing business will reduce while enhancing competitiveness. 
The initiative, which comes at a time when Uganda is flooded with substandard and counterfeit goods that risk the life of many, will cost $6m (Shs22.6b) with VODP, through Ministry of Agriculture providing equipment worth $988,470 (Shs3.7b) while the Danish government,  through Trade Mark East Africa will provide $4.45m (Shs16.8b). 

The laboratories will provide conformity assessment services to businesses in processing and value addition to ensure that their products meet set standard by testing both food and non-food products such as edible fats and oils, milk and milk products, water, fruits and vegetables, cereals and cereal products, grains and animal products, among others.
Mr Nicolaj Hejberg Petersen, the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, said the partnership with UNBS seeks to facilitate internal and international trade among all categories of traders in Uganda, especially women and micro, small and medium businesses.

The laboratories, he said, will be key in improving quality of local products for both local consumption and export markets as Uganda prepares to compete in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area as well as consolidating gains made in other markets such Europe. 
 

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