The government has put in place measures to ascertain the quality of products manufactured in the lake region, as it aims to stem fake goods from entering the country through Busia and Isebania borders.
Speaking while commissioning the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) for the lake region office and laboratories on Tuesday, the agency’s acting managing director Bernard Njiraini said the complex will transform the region to a hub of goods and services that meet international standards.
The second Kebs owned facility will serve Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Homabay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, parts of Bomet and Nandi counties.
Mr Njiraini said the regional facility has four laboratories which include microbiology, food and agriculture, chemistry and instrumentation.
“The laboratories are equipped and ready to serve the customers. The microbiology and chemistry testing laboratories have the same capacity as the ones we have at the Kebs headquarters,” he said.
The laboratory will support the manufacturing industry through the calibration service, said the Kebs boss. He added that other sectors to benefit from the facility include road construction, research centres and academia.
Players in the fishing industry, water purification and bottling, tea factories, grains and cereals, sugar, animal feeds, fertilisers and the hospitality industry will not have to travel to Nairobi to have their products certified.
The office will also benefit 780 micro, and medium enterprises as Kebs firms up its structures to support devolution.
Some of the activities to be carried out at the regional hub will include facilitation of the export of fish through testing and product certification, facilitation of ISO management system training and certification to educational institutions and industry in the lake region.
Others are calibration of road construction equipment as well as precision equipment in industry and scientific institutions as well as quality control and product certification in the water packaging and food industries.
The regional manager, Ms Jacqueline Kangiri said they were in the process of opening another office in Mbita to improve its efficiency in service delivery. This will be in addition to the current offices in Kisumu, Kisii, and One Stop Border Points at Busia and Isebania.
She pointed out that the availability of quality assurance, market surveillance, import inspection, metrology and testing services in the region will ensure product conformity in the market through surveillance. “Plans to expand scopes of certification of the testing and metrology department are underway and transition to the latest version of certification will be done in the next financial year,” she said.
National Standards Council chairman Ken Wathome on noted that Kebs is committed to entrenchment of quality in all sectors of the economy to enable Kenya realise Vision 2030 and be ready to trade in the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“Kebs is committed to ease the doing of business, I call upon all customers and stakeholders in the region to take advantage of this facility,” he said.