The Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) says it is eager to operationalize the Simulumbe laboratory in Mongu, Western Province, as this will support economic activities in the Province. ZABS Executive Director Mr. Manuel Mutale has said the laboratory will not only support the activities under the Cashew Value Chain but will provide an array of testing services for agro processors with a view to improve the quality of goods produced in the province.  Mr. Mutale said this when he paid a courtesy call on the Western Province Provincial office in Mongu yesterday, following a visit to the newly constructed laboratories.

“As you may be aware, the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) funded the construction of laboratories at Simulumbe to house the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) and ZABS laboratories. These laboratories have been built in order to support the cashew value chain activities which is a major project for the province. ZABS will be able to conduct Chemical and Microbiological tests on cashew and other products within the food and beverage and agro processing sector. Evidently, the project has reached an advanced stage and we have positioned ourselves to ensure the facility is available in time for processing and as such, the laboratory will be fully functional by the first week of October, 2020” Mr. Mutale said.

The Executive Director further pledged the Bureaus’ commitment to providing training and certification services to local producers within the province as this is a sure way to gain access to markets. “Our focus after the laboratory is open will be to ensure that we work with the SMEs in the province to enhance the quality of their products and ultimately have them certified.  His Excellency the President Dr. Edgar Lungu during the ceremonial opening of the 5th session of the 12th National Assembly informed the nation that he would soon visit some chain stores to see whether his directive to prioritize local products is being followed. With this pronouncement, we will go a step higher in our engagement with SMEs in Western province and other provinces so that we can have more SMEs certified and eventually see them penetrate the major chain stores as directed by the Head of state.”