Over seven hundred and eighty micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya’s Lake Region are set to benefit from the new, ultra-modern Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) regional headquarters in Kisumu.
The new facility not only houses the KEBS regional offices but is also equipped with four laboratories including Food and Agriculture, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Instrumentation. The laboratories will offer testing, metrology and calibration services to the Lake Region industries including fishing and fisheries, water purification and bottling, tea factories, grains and cereals, sugar, animal feeds, fertilizers and the hospitality sector.
Speaking during the official opening of the facility, KEBS Ag. Managing Director Lt. Col (Rtd). Bernard Njiraini reiterated the institution’s commitment to promoting standardization in industry and trade at the county level through investing in requisite resources and infrastructure for standards development, conformity assessment, testing and metrology.
“The Kisumu office will ensure that the region receives adequate support and assistance in all KEBS programmes through service delivery particularly in educational institutions and industries. As an institution, we want to ensure that there is efficient and effective service delivery in quality control and product certification in the water packaging and other food industries in the Lake region. This is in alignment with the national plan to standardize products and services in the country both at the national and county level,” said Mr. Njiraini.
Over the years, through working with Lake Region stakeholders, KEBS has achieved tremendous success in a number of areas including product certification of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises; facilitation of the export of fish and fishery products through testing and product certification.
It has also facilitated of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Management systems training and certification to educational institutions and industry in the Lake region; calibration of road construction equipment for road contractors and precision equipment in industry and scientific institutions; as well as quality control and product certification in the water packaging and food industries.
It is expected that the new office will further promote the export of fish and fishery products through product certification.
Other Lake Region sectors that will accrue benefits of fair and just trade through product certification and conformity include- the sugar industry, rice production and packaging, agricultural farm inputs, building and construction industry, animal feeds manufacturing, and steel products manufacturing.
Also speaking at the event, Chairman, National Standards Council (NSC) Mr. Ken Wathome reaffirmed KEBS’ commitment to supporting the government’s efforts to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing middle-income country by enabling increase in annual GDP growth rate.
“The facility will serve to ensure mandatory market entry compliance to international standards which will increase productivity in manufacturing and service delivery. This will in turn create jobs, encourage investment and promote sustainable consumption and production that will bring about improvements in environmental protection, healthcare sector, consumer protection, and distribute national wealth equitably by enabling transfer of knowledge to MSMEs,” said Mr. Wathome.
Located at the KEBS Center (Off Kibos Road) and the largest in the region, the new facility will serve 11 counties including Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Homabay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, parts of Bomet, and parts of Nandi. So far, the Lake region has five offices including Kisii (opened in 2013), Isebania, Kisumu Pier, Kisumu and Busia port. KEBS is also in the process of opening an office in Mbita.
The KEBS Lake Region offices were first opened in 1995 in Milimani area with 8 staff members and has grown to more than 62 today. The office later moved to Kenya Ports Authority premises where it was housed until the completion of KEBS regional laboratories and offices in Kisumu in September 2017.