Lack of public awareness on the role of standards is among the factors that hinders development of standardization and quality assurance in developing countries.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mrs. Joyce Mapunjo made the remarks recently when opening the TBS stakeholders’ seminar on benefits of standardization during the visit of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Secretary General Mr. Rob Steele to Tanzania.

Mrs. Mapunjo said developed countries allocate substantial amounts of their resources for standards development and quality assurance, while in the developing countries no much efforts are made to develop standards.
“Market forces and needs that exist to promote standardization and quality assurance in developed countries do not seem to exist in developing countries as standard and their participation in developing countries is marginal and weak”, she said.

However, Mrs. Mapunjo said, local communities in Africa have traditional ways of preparing and preserving food and drinks from decay or spoilage, adding that, this traditional knowledge need to be adopted and be promoted into global standards.

“The role of standardization and Quality Assurance in social-economic development is widely acknowledged and in the present development paradigm shift have become the single important factor for trade and sustainable development”, Mapunjo said.

She called upon ISO to study and transform the traditional knowledge into global standards and asked developing countries to take up positions of responsibility in developing regional and international standards on traditional foods.
On his part, the ISO Secretary General Mr. Steele said standards are vital and not boring as they add percentage to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many countries.

Mr Steele added that standards cannot be avoided as they are of necessity.
He said in Tanzania, TBS represents ISO; therefore it should be contacted on issues of standardization and quality assurance.

In his welcoming remarks, the TBS Acting Director General, Mr. Leandry Kinabo said the seminar has been organized as a step to raise awareness and promote participation of various stakeholders in global standards development.

The seminar brought together 40 TBS stakeholders both from government and private sector.