Standards in Botswana are divided into compulsory and voluntary standards. Compulsory standards affect human health, safety, environment and export. BOBS monitors products from this category to ensure compliance. The agency enforces compulsory standards on seven products: petroleum gas, poultry feed, pre-packaged good, cereals/sorghum and grains for consumption, cattle feeds, garments, and drinking water. Voluntary standards are not legally required, but compliance may increase product competitiveness.
There exist more than 600 standards in Botswana. The country has a standards catalogue, available to the public at the BOBS Information Department.
The Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) is a parastatal organization governed by a Standards Council with representatives from the industrial sector, Government, research institutions and consumer groups. BOBS is responsible for the development and implementation of national Botswana standards. The agency is recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and has the authority to create national standards. The procedures used in the development of standards comply with the World Trade Organization’s code of good practice for the development of standards.
The main objectives of include of the Botswana Bureau of Standards are the following:
- establishing and implementing national standards
- providing consultancy to organizations
- operating product and management system certification schemes
- making arrangements or providing metrology services and testing facilities for testing of both locally manufactured and imported commodities
- making arrangements for company and personnel certification and also laboratory accreditation
- providing information services related to standards and quality
BOBS is the unique organization that develops standards in the country, and it has an annual plan of standards.
The Botswana Bureau of Standards is the body that provides conformity assessments in testing, certification, and inspections. The state-owned National Testing System is made up of all government, private, and parastatal laboratories. These laboratories have an agreement with the government and do testing for it whenever it is needed. Requests for testing or calibration received by BOBS are passed on to a relevant laboratory.
Any public or private body whose product satisfies all the requirements of a Botswana product standard can apply to BOBS for the product to be certified. Samples of the product are then tested to verify its conformance to the requirements of the product standard, and if the results are acceptable, the product can then obtain the BOBS certification mark.
Botswana does not have a governmental accreditation body. Laboratory reports are sent to the accreditation boards in South Africa, Mauritius, or the United Kingdom. The SADC countries established a regional accreditation organization called the Southern African Development Committee for Accreditation Services (SADCAS).
Labels of food products should indicate the following information:
- name of the products
- list of the ingredients
- date mark
- storage instructions
- name and address of the manufacturer
- country of origin
- preparation instructions
- quantity (weight or volume)
- batch number
- nutritional facts
Labels should be written in English or Sestwana in case of the food products sold in the country.
Botswana Bureau of Standards
Address: Main Airport Road, Plot No. 55745, Block 8, Private Bag BO 48, Gaborone, Botswana
Tel: +267 390 3200
Fax: +267 390 3120