Both East and West Africa countries were contemplated with the World Packaging Organization´s globally recognized packaging education programs in the first half of 2017.
August 2017 After three years, WPO (www.worldpackaging.org) was back in Lagos, Nigeria, supporting a training program in Packaging Technology given by Pierre Pienaar, WPO Vice President Education and member of AIP (Australian Institute of Packaging), a WPO member. It was a 3 days residential training program (RTP) in Food and Beverage Packaging Technology. Students were predominantly from Nigeria and more than ever before it was evident that there is a need, as well as a desire for some, to learn more in the science and technology of packaging. Besides Pierre Pienaar, Kishan Singh, from South Africa, also conducted the program. Ahmed Omah, from Nigeria Packaging Institute, another active WPO member, hosted the event.
“There is a significant amount of informal packaging happening in Central and West Africa as well as from what I was told throughout the African continent. This is where vendors buy in bulk and repack into small pack sizes for ‘open market’ sales. It is therefore in this area of packaging where support, advice and help is required. The mere fact that a RTP was run in Nigeria is a start in helping in packaging training in general. Lots more education is required at all levels of the packaging spectrum, i.e. formal and informal sector”, states Piennar.
Pienaar and Singh were also responsible for another WPO packaging technology training program given in Nairobi, Kenya, and hosted by local WPO member, Institute of Packaging Professionals Kenya (IoPPK), represented by Joseph Nyongesa. The 42 students were predominantly from Kenya, but also from Nigeria and Tanzania. The program covered a broad spectrum of packaging technology relating to the industries in Kenya; it showed the students how to improve packaging, to reduce costs, to understand what packaging counterparts were doing in developed countries and how it is possible to improve packaging and reducing wastage.
Asian countries are also a target for WPO educational programs in packaging. On February, the Organization was responsible for an international packaging training course hosted by the Indonesian Packaging Federation (IPF) and given by the AustralianInstitute of Packaging (AIP), both WPO members. The course took place in Yogyakarta, Java, with 52 attending; it was the 4th time WPO organized a training course in Indonesia.
Indonesia is the world’s 4th most populous country and packaging is a vital part of its industry and economy. “For this reason, the aim of the training was to equip participants with greater in-depth knowledge in order for them to tackle the challenges facing the packaging industry in their current environment and to prepare them for the competitive advantages emerging in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community Market. This WPO Packaging Technology intensive training course serves to grow participants’ confidence in packaging capabilities, providing a level of insight and understanding of the packaging industry that adds real and measurable value to careers and businesses”, states Pierre Pienaar.
As with many developing countries, the greatest challenge in Indonesia is the packaging of local foodstuffs as well as packaging for the informal sector. Developed countries can learn from packaging partners in the Asian nations. The majority of Indonesia’s population shops frugally for everyday food and personal needs at the traditional markets called the pasar. Crowded with small carts and lined with small stores, the pasar is a hive of activity. They sell every possible household good, some wrapped and many not when it comes to foodstuffs. Packaging is largely driven by consumer affordability.
Much fresh produce is sold at the pasar where, if better knowledge of material selection coupled with the correct storage was used, much less meat, fresh fruit and vegetables would be wasted. Fresh produce is often exposed to the elements resulting in short shelf-life owing to ineffective storage and display conditions.
Institutionally, WPO aims to educate packaging professionals and society, through its members (packaging associations and institutes), about the important and invaluable aspects of packaging. “We are advocates for packaging: good packaging, cost-effective packaging, packaging that contributes to creating a more sustainable society. The world cannot do without packaging, so we must educate people everywhere to respect the purpose of packaging and teach them how to incorporate this tool into the process of building an ever more sustainable society”, resumes Thomas Schneider, President of WPO.
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