UGANDA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is set to start mobile laboratory testing for selected products authorized by the government of Uganda, in a bid to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ (MSMEs’) COVID-19 recovery and resilience.
The products eligible for mobile laboratory testing include maize grain, maize flour and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). The development follows a boost of the UNBS Laboratory testing equipment by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda(PSFU) under the PSFU/MasterCard Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme Project.
The equipment is part of PSFU’s assorted support to the standards body worth about sh2.5 billion that will include training and subsidizing MSMEs’ acquisition of certification and standards.
The equipment received includes an automatic colony counter for microbiological analysis, aflatoxin reader/kits and portable moisture meters for grain field-testing, a universal testing machine (UTM) of 10KN (Kilonewton) and a washing machine for personal protective equipment testing.
During the handover ceremony of the equipment to UNBS by PSFU, the UNBS Executive Director, Mr. David Livingstone Ebiru said the equipment received has boosted UNBS Laboratory testing capacity, by enabling mobile testing of samples in the field, in addition to the fixed laboratory testing done at the UNBS headquarters in Bweyogerere.
“We can now undertake mobile tests most especially for Aflatoxins within the maize value chain at the warehouses and millers’ premises. This will help us to increase the outreach to maize dealers across the country as opposed to them bringing the samples to the fixed laboratory equipment at standards house,” said Ebiru.
He added that the mobile testing capacity reduces turnaround time and increases the speed with which the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is completed to support businesses in getting the quality mark.
The PSFU Ag. Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kisirinya said that the equipment given to UNBS does not only test COVID-19 related goods, but tests a wider scope of products which will help local manufacturers provide quality products.
He also disclosed that both PSFU and UNBS are currently working on several other initiatives geared towards reducing the cost of accessing standards.
“One of them is getting producers of a particular product into a group, get a single brand and standard such that each of them can produce that brand using the standard,” he explained.
UNBS is committed to continue implementing the Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme Project in order to support the private sector to fully recover from the effects of the COVID -19 pandemic.