Zambia Bureau of Standards promotes higher-quality packaging for producers
(Lusaka) Small-scale agro-food processors in Zambia can now produce better-quality packaging through the use of new testing equipment at the Packaging and Textile Laboratory of the Zambia Bureau of Standards.
The equipment – IMPEE Porta LAB – is a portable laboratory kit that can perform over 50 different tests on all types of packaging materials, including paper and plastic labels, cartons, glass and plastic containers, cans, caps, pouches and adhesives. The Zambia Bureau of Standards will use the equipment to test the quality of packaging materials for local producers and importers as well as manufacturers of food and other packaged consumer goods to ensure that they meet customers’ standards and specifications.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) facilitated the purchase of the equipment as part of a technical-assistance project called ‘Promoting Intraregional Trade in Eastern Africa’, funded by the Government of Finland. The availability of the facility will promote the production of good-quality packaging, which is essential for export competitiveness.
Targeting the root issues
One of the causes of poor packaging materials, which often lead to product leakage, tearing, breakage and contamination, is the lack of relevant testing equipment to assure quality.
This testing equipment can test tensile strength and thickness of flexible films, light transmittance, compression strength in boxes and bottles, seal strength and leakage of pouches, tightness of caps on bottles and quality of label adhesives. Effective monitoring of these parameters in packaging materials is necessary to preserve and protect products to ensure safe delivery to the consumer.
‘Good packaging is a prerequisite for successful market access and increased sales,’ said Kofi Essuman, ITC Senior Adviser, Export Value Chain and Packaging, who participated in the commissioning of the equipment. ‘This facility presents an opportunity for manufacturers to measure and improve the quality of their packaging to reduce losses and operational costs.’