The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, in his keynote address at the south-west nationwide advocacy on agricultural quality control and standardisation across the six geopolitical zones held in Lagos, charged farmers and agro-processors dealers to mainstream the issue of food safety in their agricultural production as Nigerians deserve good, safe and quality agro-outputs for consumption and to meet world standards and international best practices.
“There is no better time than now to mainstream food safety into agricultural production if we want to really diversify our economy using agriculture as a veritable tool and have our own share of the export at both regional and international markets.
Nigerians also deserve good, safe and quality agro-outputs for consumption and should be globally accepted like their counterparts across the globe” the Minister stated.
Ogbeh, who was represented by the Coordinating Director, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine services, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, noted that previous efforts of the ministry had hitherto been geared towards increased cultivation and output per unit area with less emphasis on quality and standards of agro- produce, stating that the ban on dry beans from Nigeria by the European Union had now shifted attention to standards and quality in order to avoid incidences of communicable diseases in the country more so to earn foreign earnings that will boost the Nigerian economy.
He said the nationwide advocacy on quality control and standardization of agricultural commodities was to target farmers and other stakeholders along the food value chain so as to inculcate the culture of agro- quality among key policymakers in both public and private institutions and to recognise the essential role of food safety in the production, preparation, manufacturing, packaging ,distribution, storage,sale of food and food products as well as agro produce export promotion.
The Minister maintained that as part of government’s initiative to aid aggregation, certification standardisation and traceability, commodities certification centres would be established across the six geopolitical zones of the country.