Saturday, April 20, 2024

Eastern Province Prioritizes Consumer Safety Amidst Rising Agricultural Ventures

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Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Paul Thole, has called for more public awareness on products covered by compulsory standards to protect consumers from unsafe products in the market.

Mr. Thole emphasized the need to educate people about regulated locally manufactured and imported products to enable the public to make informed choices. He made these remarks during a meeting in his office in Chipata on Thursday, where a delegation from the Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA) paid a courtesy call on him on the sidelines of the 2024 Ncwala traditional ceremony.

Mr. Thole highlighted the increase in cooperatives involved in food processing in Eastern Province, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the safety, reliability, and high quality of such products. He commended ZCSA for its proactive enforcement of compulsory standards, urging the agency not to relent in its mandate.

“We are witnessing an increase in the value addition of agro products in Eastern Province,” Mr. Thole said, noting that women-driven agro-cooperatives, sponsored by the World Bank, have established production centers in about four districts of the province. He stressed the need to enhance the quality of these products.

Mr. Thole also urged ZCSA not to be punitive, especially towards upcoming food processors, emphasizing the importance of guiding producers with best manufacturing practices. He mentioned that some cooperatives in the province have started producing stock feed locally using raw materials from maize and groundnuts.

Furthermore, Mr. Thole expressed concern about the harmful nature of some locally manufactured alcoholic drinks and the health risks associated with wearing second-hand undergarments. He assured his office’s full support for ZCSA’s mandate of ensuring public safety, health, environmental protection, and consumer protection.

In response, ZCSA’s Head of Communications, Brian Hatyoka, announced plans for a roadshow in Chipata to educate the public on the dangers of embracing unregulated potable spirits and the health risks associated with wearing used undergarments. He emphasized the importance of producing and consuming safe products to safeguard consumer health.

ZCSA, a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry, has offices in all provincial centers and major border entry points. The agency was established by the Compulsory Standards Act No. 3 of 2017 to administer, maintain, and enforce compulsory standards for public safety, health, consumer, and environmental protection.

Issued by: Onishias Maamba,
Public Relations Officer,
Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency

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