Stakeholders in the cheese processing business have called for regular testing of their products by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) in order to address challenges of substandard cheese and product counterfeiting.
The industry is also encountering forged authorization letters, mushrooming processing units that don’t comply with basic food hygiene requirements. The sctor also faces limited transportation plus poor storage facilities.
Due to such challenges, coupled with lack of strong processing capacity, RBS met cheese producers on Monday this week to discuss the way forward.
The move will ensure regular market surveillance in supermarkets and food shops around the country, following last year’s temporally closure of all cheese processing units. The units were closed due poor hygiene resulting from employing unskilled staff.
According to Chantal Atukunda, the Public Relations Officer in RBS, training was organized for industry players.
She said two experts in dairy science and technology from Germany were hired to facilitate the training.
According to RBS, surveillance inspections indicate that there are still many challenges to be addressed by relevant institutions and stakeholders.
However, regardless of low processing capacity, locally processed cheese faired well at the World Jersey Cattle Bureau Conference in Island of Jersey this year.
The cheese from Rushaki Cottage Industry, a small firm in Gichumbi District scored 188 points, missing out by a score to win a bronze medal.