The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has developed an international standards for most of the nation’s staple food products such as garri, dry beans, soya beans, rice and the likes. The director-general, SON, Osita Aboloma, who made this known said that this move was to put an end to the high level of rejection faced by Nigeria’s agricultural produce at the international markets. The director general was represented by the director, Standards Development, Chinyere Egwuonwu.
He said: “As far as agriculture is concerned, the standards we developed are to ensure that are products meet the global benchmark, thereby forestalling a repeat of the rejection of our products as it happened recently at the international market. We have developed standards for many agricultural products, like Shea butter, dry beans, smoked fish, yam flour, plantain chips, sesame seeds, oil, rice, cocoa, cocoa butter and garri. It will interest you to know that the standard we developed for garri is accepted globally and now adopted by countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). So, you need to appreciate that the standards we are talking about are indeed standard”.
He pointed out that out of the 800 standards it had produced in one year, 339 standards have been developed for the nation’s agricultural produce.
According to the SON boss, the standards would act as a code of conduct for the nation’s agriculture value chain ranging from planting, processing, harvesting, packaging and transporting these goods within and outside the country.
He noted that SON has continued to use standardization and certification to support businesses to grow and be sustainable.
He said SON’s goals are to use standardization and quality assurance to promote the federal government’s economic development policies such as economic diversification, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Ease of Doing Business, Backward Integration as well as agricultural and industrial revolution
He also appealed to all operators, stakeholders, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, including MSMEs players to work with SON, urging them to feel free and patronize the standards it had put in place for business growth and sustainability, restating its commitment to ensure that local industries are protected from unfair competition as a result of sub-standard imported goods.
“SON is therefore opening up new vistas and opportunities for farmers, agro-allied operators and commodity exporters. We are taking up agro products from farm to when they come to the table as meal. The aim for the uniformity of standards for agricultural products with CODEX, the global body responsible for food safety, is to boost food export and stop rejections of local agro products overseas due to quality and integrity concerns,” he averred
The SON helmsman added that SON has also coordinated the development of standards for Nigeria’s smoked fish, yam flour, cocoa, plantain chips, rice, garri, sesame seeds oil and many more in the agro and allied sector.
“All these standards deliberately address the nation’s agricultural value chain from planting, harvesting, processing and packaging to transportation. That is, from farm to the table within and outside the country,” he said.