The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) which assists in the production and certification of quality goods and products among other mandates has reduced certification duration for producing various goods and products from77days to 57 days allowing farmers a shorter waiting period in getting licenses.
It will encourage farmers interested in adding value to their crops to reach more consumers and make more income.
“The bureau would take more than two months to oversee and permit production of various goods and products but this has reduced to less than two month for interested and keen producers,” said Thomas Asoo, KEBS’ quality assurance officer.
Production and certification process:
Food products for example are standardized to ensure their safety for use by humans taking care of areas such as nutritional labelling, hygiene, food addictive and more. This gives consumers the guarantee that food they are consuming meets the high standards of safety and quality.
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The standardization is also a marketing tool, in the East Africa region and internationally as the products are considered safe. Food products have 21,500 international standards which cover areas such as, food safety management, microbiology, fisheries and aquaculture, essential oils and starch and its by-products.
In Kenya, before applying for product certification by KEBS, the individual, group or company must be a registered enterprise. The certificate of registration which must indicate the annual turnover of the enterprise or an estimation of the turnover in case of first-timers in food production for example, is sent to KEBS for verification.
“Any enterprise interested to start production of goods or food products must specify to the bureau what such an enterprise is worth yearly before proceeding to the next level of certification,” said Asoo.
Applicants are then advised to visit KEBS’ website International Organization for Standardization (IOS) store section to choose and buy International Standards, guidelines, collections and checklists. The charges are different depending on the standard of choice.
“In case they do not understand the standards there are also designed publications to help understand how standards work and how to apply them, many of which can be downloaded free.”
“When this is over our officers visits the production site to investigate the hygiene of the site, quality of the raw materials and pick samples of the end product for tests in our labs.”
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Testing takes within 21-28 days upon which production permit is issued to the applicant if their products qualifies. If the products fail to meet the standard, the whole process is repeated which may take another more time.
Getting permission to engage in production of a product is very important and mandatory as those who go against it can be fined, jailed or have their products destroyed.
“Any individual, group or company found processing and producing substandard goods or products against the law can be fined up to Sh2m, jailed or have their products destroyed and their business closed,” said Asoo adding that only fresh produce do not need KEBS’ permit to be sold.