The Uganda National Bureau of Standards intends that in the next five years 70 percent of companies in the food industry have certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
ISO is a non-governmental body in Geneva, Switzerland, that sets voluntary international standards for a variety of scientific, industrial, manufacturing and commercial purposes. ISO certification helps to ensure quality and consistency.
The food sub-sector accounts for nearly half of Uganda's industrial output and also the leader in the service sector.
Since the Uganda National Bureau of Standards began issuing ISO certification in 2005, only five manufacturers have so far been issued with certificates. Most of Uganda's ISO-certified companies obtained their certification from abroad.
Gilbert Arinaitwe, head of systems certification at the bureau, says increased ISO certification of the food industry would boost the opportunities of the biggest industry in the country.
//Cue in: iAll food processing plants #i
Cue out: i# dairy processing companies.i//
The ISO certification process takes about two years. It involves a series of location visits, interviews, documentation, observation, tests, procedures, tasks, audits before a certificate is issued.
The whole process costs four million shillings which is paid by the application. This, according to Arinaitwe, is still way cheaper than when obtaining an ISO certification from abroad.
After issuing ISO certification, Uganda National Bureau of Standards also makes impromptu visits to ensure that the manufacturer or service provider maintains required standards.
uganda national bureau of standards