Malawi’s local businesses have been told in the face that they should forget about penetrating international markets if they continue producing goods of poor quality that do not meet the required global standard.
The country’s standards body, the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has expressed concern over the substandard products that Malawian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) produces and said such a development is stagnating the country’s export base.
MBS Director of Quality Assurance Services Steve Kamuloni has since invited the local businesses to take advantage of the services of the Bureau which he said has a number of interventions to ensure that the local businesses, especially the SMEs up their game.
“SMEs play a very important role in the social-economic development of a country, but if they do not have the capacity to understand the standards and requirements needed to achieve certification of their products, there is no way they can penetrate the international market,” said Kamuloni.
MBS has since embarked on industry awareness campaign on the development of a robust standardization, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology (Sqam) project.
He said through Sqam, the MBS among several interventions, offers technical assistance for development of quality management systems and food safety management systems as well as food and personal hygiene training.
“Those we have assisted are now producing quality products ready for certification,” he said.
So far, Kamuloni said seven local businesses namely Project Peanut Butter, Capital Oil Refining Industries [Cori], Polyplast, Promat, Linga Winery, Mzuzu Coffee Processors and Ethanol Company (Ethco) have benefited from the technical assistance while 60 managers from different institutions have benefited from the food and personal hygiene.
Small and Medium Enterprise Association (Smea) President James Chiutsi has concurred with Kamuloni.
Chiutsi, however, observed that there are a lot of substandard products in the country mainly due to lack of research and development services.