The Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL)in the Ministry of Agriculture is holding its management system review meeting at Maun Lodge from 4th to 8th July 2022. The objective of the review is to evaluate BNVL’s current capacity in supporting the beef value chain’s readiness for export to the European Union and other markets. The participants are BNVL managers, heads of sections and heads of units.
The review will include BNVL’s current status of accreditation with SADCAS; quality assurance; adequacy of human, financial and material resources; effectiveness of corrective actions from previous EU audits; customer satisfaction; continuous training of staff; financial control as well as policies and procedures.
Chairing the 5-day review is Dr. Chandapiwa Marobela-Raborokgwe, Deputy Director of the BNVL. In her opening remarks, she said BNVL is the only official veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Botswana. She noted that the information generated by the laboratory is used for diagnosis, control and prevention of animal diseases occurring in Botswana, certification of animals and livestock products to facilitate local and international trade. The Deputy Director stated that agriculture contributes about 3% to the GDP and 80% of this contribution stems from the livestock industry making this sector vital to the livelihoods of the many Batswana that are subsistence farmers.
“As a trading partner, the EU observes a non-negotiable requirement of test results from accredited test laboratories. BNVL started a 5-year accreditation cycle with SADCAS and have undergone annual assessment with the cycle ending in August 2022 due for renewal in September. We have made considerable progress in fulfilling our obligation to achieve test accreditation status and implementation of a quality management system according to ISO 17025 Standard in 2000; accrediting 7 tests in 2007 increasing the number to 47 by 2018,” she said.
Dr Marobela-Raborokgwe applauded her colleagues for submission of thorough reports to be unpacked during this week and she expressed gratitude to the EU-SADC EPA Implementation Support Programme for their sponsorship of this year’s review.
The EU-SADC EPA Implementation Support Programme in Botswana’s Technical Assistance Team representative; Dr Alec Bishi commended the BNVL for their knowledge of EU Market compliance requirements. He also provided an update on the implementation of activities under the programme.
The BNVL management review is supported by the EU-SADC EPA Support programme in Botswana. This is a 3.5 year programme which launched in February 2021 with objectives to boost Botswana’s capacity for trade, to realise the full benefits of the EPA between the EU and SADC. Its goals include the promotion of export-led economic diversification and growth, increased foreign direct investment and improved employment in targeted non-mineral value chains, with a potential to strengthen women’s economic empowerment.