SBS gets technical help to accredit tests for coconut oil testing |17 August 2022
The Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) has embarked on a process to build up capacity to test and accredit tests for coconut oil.
According to the bureau’s chief executive, Andy Ally, once a laboratory is accredited, the laboratory test reports issued will facilitate the industry to access international market.
Speaking at a press conference at the bureau’s headquarters in Providence last Friday, Mr Ally said coconut oil is considered as a priority product for Seychelles and it has export potentials.
“There is an initiative from government to revamp certain products such as copra for export so as to diversify the agro products. We used to export to Mombasa, Kenya, the price of copra is less than coconut oil, that’s why we need to add value and refine coconut oil for revenue,” said Mr Ally.
However, before this can be undertaken, Seychelles, which is a member of the World Trade Organisation, has to ensure that the laboratory abides by certain principles and products must comply with international standard.
“With trade there are some principles called non-discriminatory and national treatment. An accredited lab will allow us to export to Europe if we want to and our product will be just as good as those of the bigger countries. And if we export to another country producing coconut oil, like South Africa for example, they cannot deny us market. Being accredited will be like a passport,” said Mr Ally.
Seychelles were among nine laboratories chosen for technical support to achieve accreditation of coconut oil testing. This was through collaboration with SADCAS, which is the SADC Regional Accreditation Body.
They are receiving technical support from the United Nations Industrial Development UNIDO/SRLA project. The project is funded by the government of Finland and its focus is on testing laboratories in the food and water sectors with the overall aim to strengthen laboratories in the SADC region to provide high quality and reliable testing services for enterprises and regulators to facilitate trade.
“As this project is being coordinated by the SADC Regional Laboratory Association (SRLA), of which the Seychelles National laboratory Association (SNLA) is a member, UNIDO and SRLA undertook a needs assessment survey in 2019 to identify the readiness of the food and water testing laboratories to apply for accreditation,” explained Mr Ally.
As part of the funding, ‘Quality Africa’, a renowned consultancy and training provider in the region, was awarded the contract by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for the provision of technical assistance to the SBS.
Its representative, Egyptian national, Dr Mohamed Elsayed, was in the country between August 1 and 5 to assist SBS in its capacity-building. Dr Mohamed is a chemist with over 25 years of experience in qualifying laboratories to get accredited.
“Lab accreditation means lab competence which means that you give the customer the confidence from the results obtained from the laboratory, so if I test my product which is intended for export in an accredited lab, customers throughout the world will trust the result. My product will be recognised worldwide,” he explained.
Dr Mohamed said Seychelles has put a lot of effort into this new project. He said the lab staff was trained on how to develop their test missile, how to verify the proper performances of their test missile, and how to ensure the results obtained are correct to report to customers.
He said the lab was ninety percent ready for accreditation.
“When I started, I was surprised. Almost 90 percent of the accreditation work has been completed. Now, I am here to support the lab, to get them more familiar with requirement of accreditation, what it lacks and get accredited, and how to assure the quality of their test results,” he added.
Dr Mohamed said that after one month, the SBS laboratory can proceed with other procedures for accreditation.