The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The MoU, which will be implemented through USAID’s unit called Feed the Future (FtF) Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (IAM), will help MSMEs “improve the quality of their products, services and systems,” UNBS said in a statement.
According to the statement, the MoU aims at increasing product certification in the areas of health, safety and food processing; increasing standards awareness and conformity requirements among MSMEs.
It will also help to build capacity and certification of private labs to conduct product (health and safety) conformity tests, and increase awareness campaigns on the need for the population to consume quality certified products.
The Feed the Future Inclusive Agricultural Markets (IAM) Activity works to increase incomes and improve livelihoods in Uganda by promoting agriculture-led economic growth. According to UNBS Deputy Executive Director in charge of Standards Patricia Bageine Ejalu, MSMES are a crucial engine of Uganda’s economy, thus the need to harness their opportunities through technical support to enable them comply with the relevant standards requirements and enrolment on the UNBS certification scheme.
“Many MSMEs have been affected by COVID-19 but we are trying to see how we can boost quality and standards awareness among them. We need to get people to understand why standards are important. We need them to appreciate standards to unlock their potential to access both national and regional markets,” said Ejalu.
She further called for MSMEs to work through associations for easy access of the support from UNBS. The Chief of Party of the USAID FtF Uganda IAM Activity, Collins Apuoyo said that their target is to see more MSMEs acquire UNBS certification.
“We believe that creating a good relationship between UNBS and MSMEs goes a long way in strengthening service delivery. We also believe that this MoU will fulfil our vision of enrolling more MSMEs for UNBS certification,” said Apuoyo.
The activity seeks to increase incomes and improve the livelihood of households through agriculture-led inclusive economic growth in 38 districts in Northern, Eastern and Western Uganda, through a market development approach, which capacitates local actors especially the public and private sectors to upgrade practices and technologies required to increase productivity and profitability.