The use of recovery packaging has been prohibited since February 26, 2023. This is part of the promotion of quality because the culture of quality leaves something to be desired in Burundi
From February 26, 2023, it is forbidden to use recovery packaging, said Thursday February 2 Severin Sindayikengera, director general of the Burundian Bureau for Standardization and Quality Control (BBN) in a press conference.
The packages mentioned above are those used to package mineral water such as Kinju, Sangwe, etc. Added to this are the bottles of Heineken. These packages are in principle single-use. However, he laments that they are used in the packaging of other products such as palm oil, cottonseed oil and juices. “This is for the purpose of promoting quality and protecting human health, as these reclaimed packaging are not clean. “, he specifies.
According to him, the culture of quality leaves much to be desired in Burundi. The examples are legion. There are many people who trade in open-air roasted maize and cooked food in most places in the municipality of Bujumbura. And, in these places, the hygiene is deplorable. In addition, the quality of the water used to irrigate the amaranths is very poor.
The worst thing is that most of the producers of these vegetables much preferred by the majority of the inhabitants of the city of Bujumbura even use water that comes from the toilets. Another anomaly is that the scales used in Burundi are not adequate. They are manipulable. What is at the origin of the rigging of these equipments to rob the population by serving insufficient quantities.
Insufficient staff, a big challenge
According to Sindayikengera, another big challenge of this institution is related to the lack of qualified workers. The BBN has about 60 employees, with support staff constituting almost half of all staff. The certification department has only 5 employees. According to him, this enormously handicaps the activities of this Office. As Pr. Sindayikengera points out, with such a workforce, the BBN could in no case cover the entire national territory and control all the country’s markets. This is why there are certain products on the market that are not controlled by the BBN.
Another challenge is related to the fact that many Burundian industrialists are unaware of the technical procedures required to bring a product to market. ” Most of them put a non-certified product on the market while the normal procedure requires that one must have a certificate from the BBN before putting a product on the market. “, he regrets.
The BBN does not yet have a system certification
The BBN which is supposed to certify the other institutions does not itself have system certification and its laboratories are not accredited to certify products. Currently, the certificate granted by BBN gives manufacturers the green light to sell their products in EAC countries, but not in other countries outside this community. This is a thorn in the side of manufacturers who want to sell their products abroad. Not only are they limited in their exports, but they also have big problems when it comes to exporting outside the EAC.
Sindayikengera said the BBN works closely with its peers in the EAC and those in other countries. However, he asks manufacturers to always use the BBN before exporting their products to guide them so as not to have trouble in the exporting countries. Regarding system certification and accreditation of BBN laboratories, Sindayikengera reassures that the procedures are in progress and are at a satisfactory stage.
Some Burundian entrepreneurs who sell their products in EAC countries complain that their products are sometimes refused or checked again in other EAC countries even though they have a BBN certificate.
On this, Georgette Nkorerimana, director of quality assurance and testing at the BBN indicated that the conventions between the EAC countries indicate that products manufactured in one of the EAC member countries have the green light to be sold. in the other member countries of this community. ” However, this convention emphasizes that in case of doubt about a product, it can be analyzed by a standardization office in the country of destination. The problem is that there are Burundian exporters who ship products abroad that the BBN has not yet checked. “, she underlines.
Despite these challenges, Sindayikengera concludes that it is necessary to strengthen collaboration between the State, consumers and manufacturers to reverse the trend, because the protection of human health takes precedence over everything.