Experts calls on African countries to prioritize proper packing of products
Last Updated: 2018-09-12 16:23 | Xinhua
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African businesses need to seriously engage in proper packaging and labeling of their products in order to compete favorably on the global market, experts said on Tuesday.

The experts said appropriate packaging has a significant impact in improving the quality of food and other products from Africa and enhance competitiveness.

In a statement released on the sidelines of the ongoing World Export Development Forum in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, the experts said inappropriate packaging was costing Africa huge amounts of money.

"Appropriate packaging has a significant impact in improving food quality and safety, thereby reducing food losses, whilst enhancing the competitiveness of Africa's agro-enterprises and boosting trade," the statement said.

George Okech, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Zamia, said poor packaging was one of the key constraints facing small and medium agro-enterprises who in aggregate manufacture the bulk of locally processed food products in Africa.

"Improving packaging systems will contribute to strengthening the entire food supply chain, improve the competitiveness of these enterprises and benefit all food chain actors and consumers," he said in the statement.

Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive Director of the International Trade Corporation (ITC) said it is unfortunate that packaging has hit the headlines in the media for the wrong reasons in the recent past and that its contribution to pollution was leading to very negative consumer reactions.

She said African enterprises must lead in green packaging for Africa to keep its natural environment whilst bolstering opportunities for its people.

During a meeting held on the sidelines of the forum, the experts recommended for urgent need for facilities to test new packaging designs, information platforms to inform processors about available materials and equipment and advisory support services to help enterprises adapt to production and product design to reduce costs, waste and pollution.

The meeting also advocated for the need to attract investors to develop scalable and recyclable packaging manufacturing facilities.

The meeting also cited bottlenecks associated with packaging by African firms which included the lack and high cost of packaging equipment and materials as well as high maintenance and servicing costs, absence of advice to source inputs.

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