Rwanda Standards Board Acquires International Accreditation of Food Safety Certification Schemes

Products will now find it easier to enter and compete in the international market following the accreditation of Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) byDutch Accreditation Council (RVA), an internationally recognised standards accreditation body. The news was announced today during the official launch of ‘Zamukana Ubuziranenge’, a new program that will assist the local industry to reach the desired quality and safety performance; and build a strong quality and safety culture in Rwandan SMEs through creation of awareness. The programme, developed in conjunction with Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) will assist Small and Medium Enterprises to be conversant with quality requirements contained in standards, thus easing standards implementation in SMEs towards certification.

The international accreditation of Hazard Analysis and RS 184 Critical Control Points (HACCP) and ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) certification schemes means that the European and worldwide market will trust the quality of products with the RSB mark of quality as the accreditation by RVA increases credibility of the services by RSB hence enabling the Made in Rwanda Food products with RSB mark of quality to be internationally recognized.

Honourable Vincent Munyeshyaka, Minister of Trade and Industry presided over the event. He said: “We congratulate RSB upon this tremendous achievement as it unlocks Rwanda’s opportunities to confidently trade on global markets. The accreditation, launched standards and the Zamukana Ubuziranenge program give us a strong foundation to sustainably build industry’s capacity in standards compliance, which will then fast-track the trail to certification of products and services. We urge industries to ensure continual compliance to the certification requirements without which the accreditation cannot be sustained. A special call is made to Government institutions and SMEs development partners to support their growth and meet quality standards.”

Since its creation in 2002, RSB has provided quality services in standards development, quality assurance through industry inspection, market surveillance, import inspection and certification, testing, metrology services and awareness-raising. Standards,conformity assessment (testing and certification), and calibration and verification (Metrology) services are key to enhancing the competitiveness of Rwandan products, fair trade and consumer protection that in the end leads to trade promotion and socio-economic growth of the country. They are also benchmarks for business growth as standards compliance promotes quality, opens door to broader market access and increases competitiveness leading to export opportunities, as echoed by Mr. Raymond Murenzi, Director General of RSB:

Improving the quality of Made-in-Rwanda products and services for competitiveness, establishing quality and safety culture in Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) for increased productivity, supporting tourism and hospitality services initiative (MICE) and raising the national standardisation level remains a critical mandate of Rwanda Standards Board (RSB). Towards this, RSB has developed Agro-processing, Construction, Beauty making, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality standards.”

Mr. Murenzi further noted the standards body commitment to supporting Rwanda products to meet global standards noting that between July and December 2017, “…RSB has developed 71 new standards that  cover milk and milk products namely cheese and yoghurts; meat and meat products, alcoholic beverages such as urwagwa and plant flavored beverages; chemical products including soaps, polishes and cosmetics; biogas, iron bars, iron sheets; environmental protection such as waste handling and management; beauty industry, and tourisms and hospitality.”

Rwanda Standards Board has been working with TradeMark Africa (TMA) in acquiring modern technology laboratory as well as international recognition of its mark of quality, whose key outcome has been the recent certification of RSB against ISO 9001 and accreditation of HACCP and FSMS certification schemes. Additionally, support has included capacity building of private sector and RSB staff on standards compliance. Speaking at the event, TMA Country Director Patience Mutesi stated that, ““Trade Mark East Africa commends RSB commitment and effort to ensure standardization services delivered are internationally recognized and trusted. That is crucial achievement for increased market access of locally manufactured products and an opportunity for cross-border trade growth and export promotion. We are happy to keep supporting this good cause to promote cross-border trade in the region.” Informed Ms.Patience Mutesi,Country Director of TMA Rwanda.”

RSB Food Safety Certification Schemes accreditation is based on ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audits and certification of management systems.