BURUNDI – The Burundi National Quality Infrastructure Institutions have taken part in a study tour to Tanzania and Kenya as part of an EU-funded project termed, “MARKUP Burundi project”, aimed at developing the country’s National Quality Infrastructure services in the coffee and tea sectors.
The tour was instrumental in helping improve compliance with standards in Burundi by learning from implementation experiences in the two other EAC Partner States, the EAC Secretariat and the East African Business Council (EABC).
Participants gained knowledge of effective quality management techniques and gained insight from the EAC Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology, and Testing Act 2006’s implementation experiences (EAC SQMT Act 2006).
This provided an opportunity to evaluate the successes of the two nations in the tea and coffee industries.
Burundi’s quality assurance, quality control, and testing laboratories should be improved in comparison to the other EAC Partner States.
The Tanzanian Bureau of Standards (TBS), the Tanzania Tea Board and the Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency (TSHDA), the Tanzania Plant, Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA), the Tanzania Coffee Board and the Tanzania Coffee Association are just a few of the quality infrastructure organizations that the delegates visited in Tanzania.
The Burundian delegation visited the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Accreditation Service, Kenya Plant, Health, Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Coffee Directorate of the Agriculture and Food Authority, Tea Board of Kenya, and (KENAS).
They noted that collaboration and consultation among government, universities, research centres, and the private sector are key for the development of successful quality infrastructure institutions enabling enterprises to access national, regional, and international markets.
They also pointed out that the promotion of quality culture should not be restricted to the large enterprises or the manufacturing sector, but to all enterprises and sectors, including the primary agricultural producers as well as the public institutions.
In addition, accreditation of testing laboratories is an important milestone in the development of a national quality infrastructure institution and requires effort, investment, and commitment from the laboratories.
The visit also helped them realize that a strengthened quality infrastructure institution is facilitated by sufficient competent human resources and good analytical laboratory equipment.
The project consists of national initiatives funded by the 11th European Development Fund through the Partner States Window of the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP).
The initiative intends to solve market access and supply-side restrictions in the coffee, tea, and horticulture industries while promoting involvement in local and international value chains, with a special emphasis on exports to the European Union (EU).
Following requests from national stakeholders identified during the project’s genesis phase in 2016 and programming trips in 2017, the selection of the coffee, tea, and horticulture sectors was made.