A new report shows that only 40 per cent of industrial food products on the Rwandan market are safe against food hazard infections in banana, cassava, honey and grains processing.
The study was carried out by National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) between July last year and February 2018 to ensure agro-processing industries use one of the important tools known as “Hazard Analysis Critical Control point: HACCP”.
The system calls for safe techniques averting any contamination of processed foods.
According to the analysis, agro-processing is the largest manufacturing sub-sector constituting 80% of the total number of local industries.
However, the findings show that 60 per cent of industrial foods from those agro-processing industries on the local market are not certified for safety and quality because they are not aware of hazards control system.
57 per cent of industries interviewed are aware of the safety system, 22 per cent are aware of it at a low level while 21 per cent have no knowledge of the tool while 43 per cent think that ‘HACCP’ system is realistic, cheap and achievable.
The report recommends basic training on HACCP, types of hazards, their identification and control measures, corrective actions, documentation and record keeping, emphasising the importance of HACCP implementation to industries and their businesses.
NIRDA should also advise the government how to develop a policy dedicated to the food processing industry to better regulate the sector and guide those who want to enter the food industry on how to include the hazard control system from the beginning, it says.
Speaking during the launch of the training on using HACCP system, Dr George Nyombaire, Head of Research and Development Coordination Department at NIRDA, said there are over 200 small agro-processing industries.
“The HACCP system will help produce goods of sufficient quality and quantity to supply potential export markets in line with the National Export Strategy II. Considering that African countries recently signed a common market treaty, local food industries need to make sure they are certified for such food safety standards so that they are not rejected by clients,” he said.
The Director General of NIRDA, Kampeta Sayinzoga, said that in the next fiscal year they will partner with Business Development Fund (BDF) so that agro-processing SMEs can access finance to acquire necessary equipment and cover any other costs in implementation of hazards control system.