The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, has urged the owners of small scale maize milling units to upgrade their standards of operation in order to achieve their objectives.
Monique Nsanzabaganwa, made the call yesterday after visiting three small scale maize milling units in Kinamba, Nyabugogo that were closed down by Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) early last month because of poor hygienic conditions.
“We want you to operate in good hygienic conditions where your machines can preserve the quality and safety of maize grains as well as maize flour,” she said.
Nsanzabaganwa added that, machines should be made from non rusting material such as stainless steel.
“We must protect our consumers and we will not compromise with the minimum standards of these milling units,” she noted.
She stressed that, the ministry, together with RBS, are going to define strict minimum standards for the maize millers, failure of which they will be forced to close their premises and strict measures taken against them.
“We do not want to stop your business, but we want you to operate a business that will not endanger the population,” she told them.
“One of our responsibilities is to help you upgrade your business as we protect the population from the dangers that may result from the poor standards of the kind of the business you are operating”.
According to Dr. Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Director General of RBS, his team carried out a quick survey on August20, 2007 on eight small scale maize milling units around Kigali where it was found that the units were working under poor hygienic conditions.
“RBS quality inspectors conducted a more comprehensive survey on September 2, 2010 on 21 small scale maize milling units around Kigali to assess the processing conditions as well as hygiene conditions in maize milling units,” he said.
He added that millers that did not meet minimum standards were closed down because they had no hygiene regulations, no tap water in the processing unit, personnel were not qualified, toilets were very dirty, uniforms not appropriate and very dirty and no medical checks on staff as well as unsafe electrical installations.
Cyubahiro added that workers had no industrial protective wear, the machinery was old and not made of stainless steel, incomplete labelling, and no work instructions for production of maize displayed on the ground floor and as well as no proper production line.
Alexandre Rugagwa one of the owners of the milling facilities that were shut down, said that he was going to upgrade his standards by following the rules and regulations of RBS.
“We are going to ensure that our milling units are in conformity with RBS standards,” he added.