Several Member States (MS) in the COMESA region are at a disadvantage with their trading partners because of the lack of reliable, accurate and comparable measurement equipment and test results in industrial production, trade and in food safety.
In view of this, the region is working together to address these challenges as soon as possible and install appropriate equipment facilities.
Last Wednesday, the COMESA Secretariat convened a virtual validation workshop on the status of the Measuring (Meteorology) Infrastructure in the region which was attended by representatives of National Meteorology Organisations.
Speaking during the opening session of the workshop, Assistant Secretary-General for Programmes Ambassador Kipyego Cheluget lamented that the region has continued to face considerable challenges in the area of proper measuring infrastructure, and this is affecting trade.
“There is an increasing number of refusals of food products by importing countries due to the non-acceptance of measurement and test results carried by the exporting countries, or by a lack of any measurement and test result at all.
“One of the reasons for this, is the lack of proper quality infrastructure without which, it is difficult to manufacture to international specifications and tolerance,” said Amb. Cheluget who was represented by the Director of Agriculture and Industry Providence Mavubi.
He called for the region to install quality infrastructure which ensures the integrity of export commodities, quality control for the acceptance of fresh produce at the port of arrival and it locks out unsafe imports
The meeting heard that one fundamental concern on Quality Infrastructure is the lack of traceability in areas such as mass, volume, flow, temperature and chemical measurements.
These measurements are of direct importance for many products traded by countries in the COMESA Region, without which, it is hindering the development of these economies.
In response to this, the 11th EDF TBT Trade Facilitation Programme is funding the metrology project, which aims at strengthening and upgrading the Regional Metrology Infrastructure through addressing the key measurement gaps as well as enhancing the capacity, capability, competence and international recognition of National Metrology Organizations in the region.
According to experts at COMESA Secretariat, a detailed technical assessment and evaluation of the measurement status in the COMESA Region were undertaken to provide data and identify information gaps in the area.
The report incorporates some recommendations in line with the AFRIMETS categorization system and proposes recommendations to ensure that countries falling under the recommended key measurement status required for trade metrology and traceability needs, upgrade within the required ranges.
Further, the assessment report also proposes interventions for a regional scheme/framework, in order to build technical competency in metrology through recognition of test report/calibration certificates issued in laboratories operated by various organizations in the COMESA Member States.
The validated report will form the basis for the implementation of interventions to upgrade and strengthen National Metrology Institutions and Legal Metrology Organisations in the COMESA Member States.