Training the trainers to improve packaging and labelling in Tanzania

31 October 2013
ITC News
ITC facilitates training session in Cape Town to assist Tanzanian SMEs to become more competitive

Technical and business-development officers from the Small Industry Development Organization (SIDO) of the United Republic of Tanzania have boosted their skills in packaging and labelling following a one-week training session organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Ten participants took part in the training session, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 21–25 October. It was the second stage of a packaging and labelling capacity-building project to improve regional competitiveness of Tanzanian products. As part of the project, ITC will establish a packaging information centre in the country to support the trainers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Kofi Essuman, ITC’s Senior Adviser, Export Value Chain, said: ‘Poor packaging is a technical barrier to regional and global trade and I am hopeful that this exposure, which is part of ITC’s technical assistance in packaging and labelling, will enable trainers to assist small and medium-sized enterprises in Tanzania to meet international packaging standards and gain access to regional and international markets.’

Factory visits
The participants visited 12 industrial operations in Cape Town, including nine packaging research and manufacturing factories, two honey-training and processing sites, and a beverage manufacturing company. Two South African packaging experts gave presentations on lean manufacturing, standards and certification schemes, and packaging safety. The participants said that the training had reinforced their understanding of the packaging industry. They said that they looked forward to returning to the United Republic of Tanzania with relevant knowledge and skills in packaging and labelling to train and advise SMEs on how to improve the quality and presentation of local products.

Beata Minga, a SIDO training manager, said: ‘The visit was an excellent opportunity for participants to see at first hand all the processes in the packaging supply chain, such as material sourcing, packaging design, manufacture of packaging, testing, packing and delivery of finished products, as well as management of packaging waste.’

The project was organized in response to a request by SIDO to address challenges in the quality of packaging in the United Republic of Tanzania. According to SIDO, exporters need support to minimize product damage and waste, optimize costs, and maximize the use of packaging material. SIDO also says that exporters need to understand target-market packaging regulations and how to satisfy them, to understand market segments and adapt product specifications for end-consumers, to identify and use national packaging resources, and to obtain timely information on factors affecting product quality within the supply chain.
Partnerships with multinational companies
As part of the growing partnership between ITC and multinational corporations to support SMEs in developing countries, Payam Dedhari, an expert from Bosch, participated in the training. He also facilitated a workshop on lean manufacturing and waste reduction at the first packaging workshop for 21 participants in Dar es Salaam, the United Republic of Tanzania, in September 2013. The workshop was facilitated by ITC and international consultants.

Over the years, ITC has trained a number of packaging experts in several African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda. The new trainers from the United Republic of Tanzania are expected to join and strengthen this network of packaging professionals in Africa.