After a successful initial 2-year period the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) signed a renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of the BSJ’s Business Partnership Programme on Tuesday August 25, in the BSJ’s Board Room.
The programme is designed to provide technical assistance to Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) which will enable them to implement quality systems in their organizations, that ultimately will impact national economic development.
Forty benefit from Train the Trainer programme
Over the last two years, under the Business Partnership Programme, approximately 40 persons from six entities were trained under a Train the Trainer programme. Benefiting from training in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), packaging and labelling, Metry Seaga, president of the JMA noted that the training was strategic and especially beneficial to their technical staff.With the knowledge gained and skills which were developed by these persons, they continued the training, mentoring and coaching within their organizations thus creating a multiplier effect. The building of the technical competences of Train the Trainers who train resource persons is one of the key deliverables under the programme. Mr. Seaga said the MOU represented the continued mutual commitment to developing the capacity of the productive sector in standards and quality.
Twenty Percent Discount for companies
Yvonne Hall, Executive Director of the BSJ announced that under the MOU, MSMEs stand to also benefit from a twenty percent discount on services offered by the BSJ, however, this will be granted only on the basis of the entity’s involvement in standards related activities and the implementation of quality systems. Additionally, the signing of the MOU enhances the BSJ’s role as facilitator and not regulator, particularly after the separation of the regulatory activities, announced recently.
The main results expected from the programme, which is expected to continue until at least 2017, are the enhanced awareness of the value of standards by company personnel; the implementation of quality systems in the various participating entities and the improvement of current quality systems in the various organizations and member companies.
Farmers, buyers, sellers and other stakeholders in the production and export of yard long beans will come together in a major workshop from September 1 to 3, 2015, aimed at strengthening that agricultural sector and increasing exports.
The CALIDENA workshop is a collaboration of the Suriname Standards Bureau (SSB), the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the International Technical Co-operation Section of the German National Metrology Institute - Physikalisch- Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and will be held at Medisch Wetenschappelijk Instituu (MWI) in Paramaribo, Suriname.
The CALIDENA methodology is a demand-driven approach which assesses and diagnoses quality infrastructure issues at each level in a value chain, with the aim of increasing competitiveness. Value chains in the CALIDENA project must satisfy set criterion such as real opportunities for export, experience and advances in chaining, diverse quality services, participation of SMEs in the chain, conscious need to improve the chain and motivation of stakeholders to dedicate time and resources.
In the case of Suriname, the country identified yard long beans as the agricultural product with significant potential for export. Stakeholders in this sector completed a Feasibility stage to assess its eligibility to participate in the project, which led to this second – Diagnostic stage in the form of a workshop to identify, promote concrete actions and improve the quality services of the chain.
Director of the Suriname Standards Bureau, Mrs. Ingrid de Bel-Simson noted that this was a great opportunity for the bureau to hear from the stakeholders and also assess the services the organisation offers and what it needs to do to assist in making the sector more competitive, as well as alerting the public about the capabilities of the SSB.
At the end of the workshop will be an action plan to identify the steps necessary to make Suriname’s yard long beans more competitive on the regional and international markets.
The shrimp industry in Belize is this week more certain of the way forward to addressing some of its challenges and how the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) can help producers, processers and distributors improve quality and possibly increase exports.
This follows an intensive three-day CALIDENA Diagnostic workshop that was the result of collaboration on the shrimp industry between the BBS, its regional umbrella body – the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and funders, the International Technical Cooperation Department of the German Metrology Institute (PTB).
The CALIDENA methodology under the CROSQ-implemented and PTB-funded project – Establishment of a Demand-Oriented and Regionally Harmonized Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean (RQI 4), has been focussed on improving the quality infrastructure in agriculture-related value chains among the CROSQ Member States. The term “value chain” is based on the concept that the value of a product is created at various stages in production, and looks at all the steps from creation to market, as well as the relationships behind the companies involved in developing the product.
Belize is one of four countries in the second round of the RQI4 project to be chosen for the strengthening of a value chain, and the country chose its shrimp industry.
The workshop ran from August 5 – 7, 2015, at the George Price Centre in Belmopan, and concluded with a trip to the Belize Agriculture Limited (BAL) shrimp processing plant in Placencia, in the south of Belize. Approximately 20 participants spent the first day of the workshop learning about quality infrastructure and the history of the shrimp industry, conducting analyses of the state of the industry. The second day examined the legislations and regulations central to the shrimp value chain’s operation in Belize, regionally and internationally, while the third day examined a real operation and a GAP analysis of the industry, with a committee being formed to spearhead actions to closing the gaps and correcting the deficiencies found.
By the end, the group had identified challenges pertaining to technical regulations and inspection; standards and certification; laboratory and accreditation services; and metrology and calibration services. Among the needs found in technical regulations and inspection were – inspection services; standards and certification recommended frequent monitoring by a certification body, training in quality systems; in laboratory and accreditation services – an accredited laboratory facility, communication with and among stakeholders, particularly the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and the BBS, training of auditors, and they wanted services in temperature and the calibration of scales as well as accreditation of calibration services to help facilitation of trade in the metrology and calibration area.
These and other needs were outlined in the action plan that is devised at the end of such CALIDENA diagnostics, and in addition to identifying persons to sit on the implementation committee, they also determined why these were the challenges they found with QI services, how these challenges could be addressed and by whom, along with timelines.
The committee is now set to meet before the end of the month to begin plotting how it will implement some of the actions decided on during the Diagnostic workshop.
Director of the BBS, Mr. Jose Trejo expressed thanks for the intervention into the shrimp value chain and noted that the bureau was excited and looking forward to the implementation process of the actions decided.
President of the Belize Shrimp Growers Association, Mr. Alvin Henderson said: "I think (the CALIDENA) has brought a lot of clarity to something that is increasingly urgent for us as a country. About two months ago I raised the issue with BAHA about the need for us to have an accredited lab and it is moreso urgent now."
The Government of the United Mexican States, through the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) and the Government of Belize, through the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Consumer Protection on Monday, July 20, 2015 during a visit of the Belize Foreign Ministry in Mexico.
The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding is to establish and develop cooperation activities between both participants with respect to guiding policies, protection and defence of consumers with these activities following the relevant laws, rules and regulations in force in each respective country
With Mexico as one of Belize's most important trading partners, it is imperative that as Consumer Protection Agencies, the BBS and PROFECO establish a formal working relationship. This Memorandum of Understanding represents the first step in recognizing and addressing the challenges posed by possible cross-border fraudulent, deceptive commercial practices and in seeking to improve the effectiveness of the enforcement of each countries applicable Consumer Protection Laws. Through these efforts, both agencies have committed to advancing the protection and safety of goods and services used by consumers in each respective country.
For further information please contact us at:
3rd Floor Diamonds Building Belmopan, Belize, C.A. P.O. Box 430
Hotline: 0-800-2-TELL-US (0-800-283-5587)
The Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) is desirous of having a logo design that will serve as an effective corporate identity of the Agency.
CAHFSA is a CARICOM intergovernmental Agency mandated to perform a coordinating and organizing role for the establishment of an effective and efficient regional Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regime.
The services offered by CAHFSA falls under 3 main areas: Food Safety, Plant Health, and Animal Health.
The CAHFSA Logo Competition is funded under the 10th EDF Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Project Support to the Caribbean Forum of ACP States in the Implementation of Commitments Undertaken Under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).
The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB)’s Central Laboratory has made history by becoming the first laboratory in Guyana to become accredited to the International Standards Organisation’s ISO/IEC 17025 standard. The ISO standard is used by laboratories in developing their management system for quality, administrative and technical operations. Laboratory customers, regulatory authorities and accreditation bodies may also use it in confirming or recognizing the competence of laboratories.
By earning this standard, the GRBD has achieved several significant milestones including becoming the first laboratory in the region to have:
- attained accreditation through the CARTFund, the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund financed by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)
- been assisted towards achieving accreditation by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) functioning as the National Accreditation Focal Point (NAFP)
- become accredited outside of Jamaica utilising the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC)
- earned accreditation through the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) Scheme created by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), a partner in the CARTFund Project, noted that the accreditation was a particularly gratifying step, and a very important achievement for the Project.
“A major constraint to trade and market access, even where tariffs have been eliminated, is the ability to comply with sanitary and phytosanitary standards and quality requirements”, said Edward Greene, Division Chief, Technical Cooperation Division of the Caribbean Development Bank. “The Accreditation of the GRDB Central Laboratory means that the rice sector in Guyana now has access to accredited testing services. This is a significant milestone in the development of the value chain of the Rice subsector in Guyana”.
CROSQ’s CEO, Mr. Deryck Omar shared the view that this was an excellent example of countries supporting each other using specialised expertise and resources.
“This accreditation demonstrates functional regional integration as together each achieves more. It is a positive development to see how the expertise of JANAAC was brought to bear in supporting Guyana in this process. The CCA Scheme has several advantages as conformity assessment bodies receive coaching, training and development assistance towards achieving accreditation. We find this approach to be economical and practical,” said Mr. Omar.
Permanent Secretary in Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. George Jervis further described the achievement of the accreditation as auspicious, because GRDB is the country’s lead agency in agriculture.
“Prior to this certification, the Guyana Rice Development Board was tasked with sending samples for testing to the USA, which roughly took two weeks for results. Today, we no longer have to take this route. Being ISO/IEC certified is a useful tool which will add credibility by demonstrating that rice coming out of Guyana meets the expectations of our buyers”, he said, reading a prepared speech from the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Noel Holder.
The accreditation process began under the project in 2014 and was accelerated with receipt of a grant of US$522,401 from the CARTFund.
The objective of the CARTFund project is to strengthen the capabilities of testing laboratories in CARIFORUM Member States to provide reliable, competent, internationally recognised and affordable testing services to exporters. CROSQ and the CDB are the implementing partners for the Project.