To stop further rejection of Nigerian agricultural products in the international markets, NICERT Limited, a Nigerian conformity assessment and certification company in partnership with ECOCERT GROUP France, its technical partners, have offered the Federal Ministry of Agriculture their services in form of advisory, consultancy, training and sourcing of certified inputs for Nigerian farmers.
This is in order that Nigerian agricultural products may conform to commercial or legal international standards, obtain necessary certification accordingly and gain unhindered direct access to the lucrative formal international markets.
The chairman of NICERT, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, while speaking at a presentation made on the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Agri-business and Market Development Department in Abuja, decried the spate of rejection of Nigerian agricultural products by the lucrative international markets. He emphasised that the unwholesome trend is creating a negative geographical indication for Nigerian goods generally and making it even more difficult for Nigerian goods to access the lucrative formal international markets.
He provided facts and figures showing that Nigerian agricultural goods were now being trafficked through other countries that repackaged or processed them in accordance with required standards and got all the value which Nigerian farmers are being denied. Giving examples of yam, Shea butter, cashew and Ginger, which Nigeria was a leading producer of, but which were trafficked or exported as raw materials only to create thriving processing industries in Ghana, Vietnam and China respectively.
He stated that the losses to Nigeria in employment opportunities, transfer of technology and industrialisation were unquantifiable. He urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to “take the lead in setting standards that reflected global standards such as Global G.A.P., Fair-trade and even organic standards for Nigerian agricultural producers so that a culture of production in accordance with international requirements and best practices could be inculcated in our agricultural production systems. This would also build confidence in international markets for Nigerian agricultural production and make conformity with the standards of those markets and required certification easy”.
Prince Oluyede applauded the Nigerian Organic Movement, which had for several years been quietly working on creating such a culture amongst its members, in accordance with International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) standards, but pointed out that this was not enough because it was the duty of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the States Ministries across the federation to lead such a revolution.
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