By Elias Hakizimana.
Local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that process food and beverages have been advised to accomplish the guidelines and rules set up by Standard Boards allowing them to get HACCP Certification so to be able to compete at the African Union Single market.
The call was made by National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) on April 3, 2018 during a three-day workshop that gathered local food and beverage processors of banana, grains, cassava and honey crops.
The call follows the research conducted between July 2017 and February, 2018 that revealed the gaps in food standards.
HACCP is the system dubbed “Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and is a tool useful to ensure food quality standards for human health consumption and to help food processors join easily the international market.
The research conducted by NIRDA revealed that only 40 percent of industrial foods products in the country among agro-processors are certified
The 2016 government retreat has embarked on HACCP certification programme as a national priority for exported food and beverage commodities
Samson Bimenyimana, NIRDA technician one of the researchers who conducted the research said that NIRDA will assist agro-processors tackle existing challenges they face in terms of joining the move.
“NIRDA will play a big role in tackling current problems in standards including implementation HACCP system,” said Biziyaremye.
Participants to the training on HACCP.
Agro-processing constitutes 80 % of other processing factories in Rwanda, and the sector can earn Rwf118 millions of exports foreign exchange as per the 2015-2020 government targets.
Beverages only occupy 70% of agro-processing products while agriculture and livestock make 24 percent of earnings from foreign countries that plays a vital role in creating employment and availing food to the community.
Some of the challenges towards producing quality food products include difficulties finding raw materials.
Among other challenges 30 to 50% of yield also is damaged due to bad storing system and kinds crop variety.
Samson further highlighted technology issue that 70 percent of agro-processors still use traditional systems, 19% mix both traditional and modern technologies in processing food, while only 1% have modern technologies.
He said that by the time of the research, 100 percent of cassava processors used traditional technologies, 48 percent of maize processors mix hands and machines.
“Another big issue is that research in those factories is down, many of them do not do research, they said they have challenges to work with the government and research institutions, there is lack of skills and information of personnel, for example hygiene in processing food,” Samson.
NIRDA has obligations to help people get HACCP standards implemented and collect information for them in partnership the ministry of trade and industry (MINICOM)with MINICOM.
24 factories were selected to have early HACCP standards in the country.
“We also wish that our made in rwanda have a value and compete with imports to be able to have devise. There is also NIRDA program to help SMEs produce healthy food made in Rwanda,’ samson.
The research also found that 57% among the agro-processors have information on hygiene while processing food, 22 have not enough information while 21 do not know. 50 percent information and efficient equipment, others have information but without equipment.
It was revealed that many of agro-processors do not know HACCP Principles as only 43% said that HACCP certification must be implemented.
“NIRDA wishes to set up basic training of agro-processors on hazards, factory standards, hygiene needed for food processing as well as the role of using and implementing HACCP in their respective factories,” said Samson.
Agro processors factories are urged to comply with HACCP rules to better have needed food standards and benefits on food processing industries.
The HACCP is different from S-MARK (standardization mark) as the latter is provided after S-MARK.
NIRDA has under plans to setup incubation centers to help beneficiaries get information in regard with HACCP.
Speaking during the opening day of the training, NIRDA Director General Kampeta Sayinzoga said that three food and beverage factories (Banana, Maize and cassava) were selected for long term partnership with NIRDA.
NIRDA Director General Kampeta Sayinzoga addressing food processors during the training.
She said although It is difficult to get to HACCP standards, it is possible in partnership with NIRDA and government.
“Does the available technology allow you to reach to HACCP standards? We can facilitate you select which best machines to help you and in coming days we will partner with the business development fund (BDF) to ease price for these machines so that they reach you at affordable prices. This is an opportunity to know your challenges and we have to agree up on solutions to fill the gaps,” Kampeta said.
Dr George Nyombaire, the head of research and development coordination Department at NIRDA told the press that the 60% of factories that are not HACCP certified can’t access international market.
“For our food factories to be competitive at international market, they need be HACCP certified. We will partner with the Rwanda Standard Board (RSB) to train agro processors on HACCP guidelines and we have started visiting them,” said Nyombaire
NIRDA identifies the gaps within the factories and report to RSB for further inspection of standards.
Emile Nsanzabaganwa, Chief Executive Officer of Kinazi Cassava Plant said that the HACCP fee was a challenging issue but since the export growth fund facilitates them to get this certificate.
He noted that most of hotels they partner with appreciate their products but recommend for HACCP certificate to trust the quality.
Anicet Muriro, in charge of Zamukana Ubuziranenge (growing up with quality) project at Rwanda Standard Board said: “We have to ensure continuous assessment for continuous assessment because having been certified it does not means you are with quality. Besides surveillance in industries, we also do it on the market so that any non-certified product is not accepted,” he said.
Prof-Bikoro Munyanganizi, the research in agro-processing technologies said the training should be done both in theories and practice under the support of certified industries and researchers with modern technologies needed emphasizing that there is need of a model from certified industries for demonstration to industries and SMES in need of hazards control system implementation.
Alphose Kubwimana, the Chief Technician at Gisagara agro-business company that produce banana wine said, so far, they are at 80 per cent in the process of being HACCP certified.
“We have realised that for SMEs, it requires to first buy stainless machines recommended, using glass bottles skilled staff for ensuring there is no contamination in processing which cannot be immediately afforded,” he said.
Their factory produces 7000 Litters of banana beer per day and 20 tonnes of bananas.
Elias HAKIZIMANA @theinspirerpubl