Rwanda National Bureau of Standards (RBS) has embarked on the implementation of quality rice standards to improve the crop’s production for domestic consumption and export.
The Director General of RBS , Dr Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, told Business Times that the standards, which include food hygiene, processing, machinery and staff requirements, storage and labelling, will be promoted to improve the quality of rice produced in the country.
“Rice has been one of the target crops identified and what we want here is to see these rice SMEs comply with the standards to have a quality rice product, which is competitive locally and internationally,” he said in an interview yesterday.
Government through the SME Policy set up strategies to uphold SME development and ensure that the sector creates a greater impact on the country’s economic development.
“The aim of all this is to facilitate SME access to development services including business development services, access to local, regional and international markets and market information as well as promoting innovation and technological capacity of SMEs for competitiveness,” Bagabe said.
He also noted that previously, many SME farmers had been failing to meet standards, especially in processing, which has been hindering high production.
He added that: “We have been importing rice from other countries and our local rice has been of poor quality.”
Jack Nyandwi, the president of Multi Business Investment Company, a rice production SME said that compliance to the standards have improved their quality and production through the acquisition of new machines and labelling as well as packaging.
“We were ignorant of standards existence. This really handicapped the quality of our products and even the whole value chain and this has raised the issue of quality for competitiveness, which was lacking in our business horizon,” he said.