A partnership in support of the harmonization of standards key to export competitiveness
“The Bureau already has around a thousand standards harmonized at national level… Without standards, you cannot ensure quality and be competitive, you cannot gain customers' trust and, ultimately, you cannot earn money for what you produce," said Damien Nakobedetse, Director, Standards and Quality Control Bureau, Burundi.
Nakobedetse highlights how the quality of standards is a major key to competitiveness, especially to an agricultural economy like Burundi.
In Burundi, 95% of exports are agricultural products, and likewise, 95% of the population, especially the poor, depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. In sectors like coffee, the standard-related challenge is much more severe given the small production (between 250,000 and 340,000 bags/year). With EIF support, training, upgrading of laboratories, tools and knowhow are now in place to scientifically analyse products on a chemical and microbiological level and provide certification, which are prerequisites for exports.
Coordination and partnership among the National Standards Bureau, the private sector, research institutions, laboratories and traders have allowed the harmonization of over 1,000 sanitary and phytosanitary standards at the national level.