Finnish funding allows Tanzanian SMEs to benefit from Packaging Service Centre

14 November 2016
ITC News
Packaging materials, label designing and training on offer to expand access to markets

A Packaging Service Centre, which will enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to add value to local agri-food products and make them more competitive, has been officially opened in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) Packaging Service Centre was launched in mid-October and will help SMEs to meet the relevant packaging standards required to gain greater access to local supermarkets and to expand trade within the region. SMEs often face a disadvantage in the market when it comes to packaging as large packaging suppliers cannot accommodate orders that don’t meet their minimum order requirements.

The centre is important for Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs), small business exporters, packaging material suppliers and potential partners. It has been made possible through the Promoting Intra-Regional Trade in Eastern Africa project, implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and funded by the Government of Finland. The project focuses on increasing exports from Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia, particularly in the honey, mango and spice sectors.

ITC began its collaboration with SIDO to set up the Packaging Service Centre in 2014. In addition to practical support, sourcing of equipment and materials, ITC has provided training and expertise.

Mr Frederic Couty, Senior Packaging Adviser with ITC, said: ‘The centre will offer different packaging materials at much lower costs than in the wider market.’ The costs, for instance, of a glass jar will go down by between 35% and 40%.

SIDO Director General, Prof Sylvester Mpanduji, said the centre offers a full range of services, including packaging material, label designing and training: ‘Good packaging material not only increases market visibility but also increases the shelf-life of a product.’

Packaging is a crucial component of value addition in terms of protecting and preserving a product. Good packaging makes the product easier to transport, makes it more attractive to the consumer, makes it easier to identify, provides valuable information and makes it convenient to use.

ITC’s Director of Division of Country Programmes, Mr Ashish Shah, said: ’The work of the Packaging Service Centre is to be seen in conjunction with a number of other activities implemented by the Promoting Intra-Regional Trade in Eastern Africa project. The Quality Compliance and Food Standards capacity building component has trained several local trainers and counsellors who are advising companies on procedures that ensure high quality and food standards.’

Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Finland in Tanzania, Mr Simo-Pekka Parviainen, said: ‘The aim of the centre is to enable SMEs to receive a premium price for their products by improving packaging materials, therefore removing obstacles to access new markets.’