Our Story

Summary

OUR_STORY
1993: Creation of Chemiphar nv, located in Bruges, Belgium

1998: Creation of Chemiphar Uganda Limited

2001: ISO 17025 accredited for Microbiology and Chemistry

2001: Recognition by the EU health inspectors

2009: ISTA accreditation

2010: ISO 17020 accredited for Inspections

2010: GAFTA approved under Analysts Scheme and members for Superintendent

Overview

In 1993: Chemiphar nv, located in Bruges, Belgium, was created by Dr. Jan Cordonnier, Pharmacist and Toxicologist.

In 1998: Chemiphar Uganda Limited was created.

This decision to expand the activities of the Chemiphar Group of Laboratories was taken as a response to the growing pressure to globalise the commercial activities, also in the laboratory services. But what mainly convinced the investors is that, between 1997 and 2000, the EU imposed three export bans on fish from Uganda for a number of reasons, like detection of salmonella in imported products, outbreak of cholera on some landing sites and beaches, and suspected incidences of fish poisoning. According to several studies, the Uganda fish export bans resulted in losses of over US$30 million. It further meant a loss to fishing communities in the form of reduced prices and less fishing activity and an estimated 32,000 people lost their jobs. It is also estimated that over 300,000 people from families directly depending on fishing as a household activity were affected. During the whole period of the ban, 3 of the 11 processing factories were forced to close while the remaining ones had to operate at less than 20% capacity. As a result factories laid off 60% to 70% of their labour force. Other auxiliary industries such as packing, the fishnet manufactures, the transport industry, the fuel industry and Uganda’s economy in general were directly affected and all the people involved suffered the direct consequences of the EU fish export ban.

At that time, Chemiphar nv in Bruges was already much involved in the quality control of the fish coming from the Lake Victoria. In this aspect, it was easy to consider the expansions of the activities to East Africa and to decide that Uganda was the most opportune location for the Belgian investment as it was showing all signs of being a booming economy with a great bias on export of its products. Only by producing quality products which comply with the appropriate standards would help the East African industries to compete worldwide.

Therefore Chemiphar (U) Ltd came at the right time as response to save the fish industry. The biggest achievement of Chemiphar in Uganda was the recognition by the EU health inspectors in 2001 as being the only laboratory in Uganda capable of performing all necessary health and residue analyses in the exported fish. This capacity was a prerequisite for the EU before lifting the ban slapped on fish imports from Uganda into Europe. Our presence in Uganda made the revival and survival of the fish exporting sector, now a multi-million dollar export business, possible.

Nowadays, EU-FVO food inspectors come back regularly and evaluate our laboratory and the way we handle the official control on samples on behalf of the Fisheries Department.

In 2001, Chemiphar succeeded in getting ISO 17025 accredited for Microbiology and Chemistry.

In December 2004, we were appointed by the World Food Programme to inspect and perform the quality control of all commodities purchased locally and to monitor the quality of commodities stored in the WFP stores.  Chemiphar was then recognised as a UN supplier under number 23546.

In February 2007, we were registered on the UN-MONUSCO vendor roster, under vendor number MON-1126.

Little by little, Chemiphar acquired more analytical equipment (GC-MS, AAS, TLC, FIMS) in order to ensure that products like vanilla, fruits and vegetables produced in Uganda could continue to be exported to different countries around the world, and make sure Uganda was complying with, among others, the new food and feed law of the EU and EUREP-GAP.

In 2009, Chemiphar succeeded in getting the ISTA accreditation.

Chemiphar, with the support of the Danida ASPS established seed testing and certification capacity, specifically for agricultural seeds.

That means that any Orange or Blue Certificates issued by Chemiphar are worldwide recognized and that seeds coming from all over the world can be tested by the lab. All seed samples are tested following ISTA rules and procedures. This means that it is possible for growers, traders, exporters, farmers, development agencies and regulatory authorities to have the quality of their seeds quickly and independently verified.

In 2010, due to the increasing demand for superintendence and inspection services from various customers, especially for the agriculture commodities, Chemiphar went ahead, and in order to give more confidence to its customers, succeeded in being ISO 17020 accredited for inspections and GAFTA (Grain and Feed Trade Association) approved under Analysts Scheme and members for Superintendent.

Up to now, Chemiphar has always committed resources and time to address areas of utmost importance, where Uganda or the region can have a competitive advantage.

Our strength is:

–       Fast and reliable results

–       Quality analyses

–       Client oriented policy

–       Experienced staff

–       International accreditations