UNBS simplifying Uganda Standards to ease implementation by MSMEs

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with support from the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) initiated a three-day online stakeholder engagement to develop easy-to-use standards information materials based on Uganda Standards to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

The event that kicked off Monday, follows a gap analysis undertaken in 2018/19 with support from CSN, to establish bottlenecks limiting access to markets for some food products from MSMEs.

Over 30 experts took part in developing the materials intended to provide information in an easy to understand format especially for key value chain actors such as consumers, manufacturers and traders.

“Many SMEs are not yet registered with UNBS for certification and others are still in the process of certification. We are simplifying the standards so that the SMEs get information on the basic requirements for manufacturing and standards compliance. This will motivate them to acquire the standards which is a step closer to starting the certification process.” Said Johnson Ssuubi, the UNBS representative on the CSN team.

Emphasis was placed on Uganda Standards for labelling of pre-packaged foods (US EAS 38:2014) and Code of practice for hygiene in the food and drink manufacturing industry (US 28 EAS 39:2002).

The expected output of the online meeting is brochures and posters in English, simplified to ease understanding and implementation by MSMES.

The Commonwealth Standards Program supports UNBS to achieve its strategic objectives and support agricultural and other value chains in complying with international best practices.

Last year, UNBS with support from CSN, simplified Uganda Standards in relation to quality requirements and trade for rice, soybean, avocado, pineapples, Shea nut,  and fish & fishery products, among other accomplishments. These guideline documents for key agricultural value chains were translated to 13 local languages; Shea nut – Acholi, Soy bean – Itesot and Langi, Pineapples – Luganda, Avocados – Runyoro-Rutooro, Rice – Luganda and Lumasaba and many other achievements.

So far, over 200 Micro and small scale businesses have benefited from UNBS activities supported by the CSN program in Uganda.