South Africa is the third-most biologically diverse country in the world and its preservation is high on the government’s agenda. One of the industries/value chains identified as a priority sector is the essential and vegetable oils, based on its comparative advantage of seasonable supply, export potential, inclusiveness and environmentally sustainable characteristics.
It is widely accepted that Southern Africa has many indigenous plants producing essential and vegetable oils that have potential commercial value. However, to exploit these commercially on an international scale, the industry needs to ensure sustainability of supplied quantity and consistent quality.
Based on the export potential and comparative advantage, the dti, SECO and UNIDO have developed a project focusing on strengthening the quality compliance capacity of the essential and vegetable oils value chain in South Africa viz., the Global Quality and Standards Programme – South Africa (GQSP-SA).
The Project’s title, “Strengthening the quality of essential and vegetable oils exports from South Africa”, encapsulates its primary objective. It aims, through its interventions, to facilitate market access for SMEs whose products are destined for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic markets. The Project has three outcomes to respond to the main compliance challenges identified for the South African essential and vegetable oils destined for these markets:
- Outcome 1: The technical competence and sustainability of the National Quality Infrastructure System and the conformity assessment services that serve the selected value chains are enhanced
This outcome is aimed at the development of national standards (SANS) for the most-traded essential and vegetable oils, and to facilitate fit-for-purpose industrial, scientific and legal metrology measurement services. It also focuses on strengthening the technical competence of the conformity assessment service providers in South Africa and in the region.
- Outcome 2: SME compliance with international standards and technical regulations is enhanced
This outcome aims to reinforce industry support organisations such as SAEOPA and the South African Quality Institute (SAQI) to provide services to support the export value chains, a pertinent example being the recently developed Certificate in quality for food, cosmetics and ingredient oil industries, offered by SAQI. Support is also given to SME growers and producers who have been producing products consistently.
- Outcome 3: A culture for quality is promoted
In accordance with this outcome, change management intervention is being undertaken to enlist the support of all role players in improving quality and productivity within the essential and vegetable oils industry. It incorporates the development and application of a Quality Culture Tool to instil a “quality culture” across the entire value chain, and key players will be encouraged to engage into quality and to adopt relevant national and international standards, including quality and sustainability.