By Elias Hakizimana.
Rwanda’s agro-processors have committed to have basic food safety standards’ manual on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) by mid-May, 2018 for them to start implementing its procedures in their respective factories.
They took this decision after the field-visit of one firm, ‘Entreprise Urwibutso-SINA Gerald’ that succeeded to get HACCP certificate in grain processing as they closed a three-day workshop in Kigali on April 5, 2018.
One secret to get to the final HACCP certificate as explained by Desire Uwayo, food operation manager at this enterprise is to write a manual guiding document listing the procedures and respect its contents up to the final product.
Trained food processors toured the grain zone within the Enterprise Urwibutso from the store, washing room, drying room, roosting, milling room up to the packaging room.
Uwayo told them that the process becomes easy when they are committed to read and understand the safety standards and respect guidelines by the Rwanda Standard Board (RSB).
“the earlier you start, the less cost it makes. The process is easy and possible as you all follow the standards guidelines, the food safety guidelines are at international level. RSB commend you on what to do following your capacity and all the standards reach to the same safety,” said Uwayo.
He narrated some of the challenges they faced at markets before getting HACCP certificate.
“we used to face technical and economic challenges at markets before being HACCP certified, but now we are able to access both local and international markets,” Uwayo noted.
Emile Nsanzabaganwa, Chief Executive Officer of Kinazi Cassava Plant, the local firm that produce cassava flour said they are ready to have accomplished basic steps in understanding HACCP standards by mid-May.
“We are happy for this journey of visiting and we have learnt a lot which will help improve on the guidelines. It requires our commitment and not everything needs money, though we have to take it serious and make it our own responsibility to succeed, so, we are ready in less than a month to be HACCP certified,” Nsanzabaganwa said.
However, Claude Kayumba, grain processor at ‘Health is Wealth limited’ located in Kimironko sector in Gasabo district presented some of the challenges to get this certificate, pointing at information gap.
“lack of information is a gap but as learning from others also is a key to succeed. In my company, we will gradually implement what we have learnt,” Kayumba said.
The training on HACCP was organized by the National Industrial Research Development Agency (NIRDA) in partnership with Rwanda Standard Board (RSB) gathering together local food and beverage processors of banana beer, grains and cassava processors and honey crops.
Currently, only 40% of food processors are HACCP certified, which means 60% remaining need to work harder to get this certificate useful for selling their products at the African common market.
Delphine Uwimana, banana beer or ‘Urwagwa’ processor at Gisagara agro-business limited in the southern province of Rwanda said their firm did not know about the HACCP certificate apart from S-Mark (Standardization Mark).
“We thought that the S-Mark is enough for safety. After this training and field visit, I got to know that the success is all about commitment and respecting standards guidelines. I will follow them and it can take a month to understand HACCP package,” Uwimana said.
Anoncee Kuradusenge, in charge of Research in Agro-processing in NIRDA said the training and field visit was in line with helping local food processors to sell at national and international markets since they have HACCP certificate.
“We wish to move from 40 percent of factories that are HACCP certified nationally and reach to another level. Reason why we organized this trainingand field visit. Trainees confirmed that the process is easyand possible,” Kuradusenge said.
Elias HAKIZIMANA @theinspirerpubl