NESTLE Zimbabwe and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at the enhancement of product safety and quality through the use and application of standards.
SAZ director general Eve Gadzikwa said the MoU also signifies an important Public-Private Partnership in the areas of laboratory analytical methods alignment and capacity building.
“This MoU comes at a very opportune time in the history of our country. This development comes under the new dispensation in Zimbabwe when the government is encouraging industry to manufacture more quality goods for exports in order to earn more foreign currency,” she said at the signing ceremony in Harare.
Zimbabwe has for the past decades remained a net-importing country like most developing nations.
Market experts, however, said there is a greater need to raise exports both in terms of value and volume.
The country’s economic problems are largely a function of production deficiencies, which require the country to exploit the current pro-business environment to increase productivity for export growth and economic turnaround.
Zimbabwe’s exports increased by 40 percent to $3,5 billion between January and November last year compared to $2,5 billion during the comparable period in 2016, official trade figures show.
The improved performance during the 11-months period is largely attributed to a raft of measures government announced to boost domestic output and tame the trade imbalance.
Gadzikwa noted that the collaboration between SAZ and Nestle was strategic in terms of alignment of analytical methods as this will enhance trade and complement efforts of turning around the country’s economy.
Nestle chief executive Ben Ndiaye the international consumer goods manufacturer was committed to compliance everywhere it operates.
“We work together with food control authorities and other stakeholders in strengthening food control systems, so as to ensure consumer safety and trade facilitation. We believe that effective enforcement of food legislation and the implementation of food-borne disease surveillance systems require sound and efficient food analysis capabilities at national and subnational levels,” he said.
Nestlé – the world’s largest food and beverage company headquartered in Switzerland – recently put in place quality assurance centres across the world with two in Africa, South Africa and Ivory Coast.
The centres use latest technology to give technical support and expertise in the area of food testing to ensure food safety to the company’s global factories.
“Our strong partnership with Standards Association of Zimbabwe provides a mechanism for technical information and technology transfer – both for the overall safety of the consumer, but also to enhance the ability of nations to trade safe and nutritious food with their neighbours and beyond,” Ndiaye said.