FG to begin products’ certification before export

FG to begin products’ certification before export

The Federal Government on Thursday received the International Organisation for Standardisation accreditation certificate on behalf of the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

With the receipt of the ISO certification, the government stated that the NSPRI was now globally accredited to certify qualified agricultural produce meant for exports from Nigeria and that the agency would commence this activity immediately.

This, it said, would help curb the rejection of Nigerian agro-products by foreign nations, describing the ISO certification of the NSPRI laboratory, headquartered in Ilorin, Kwara State, as a milestone achievement.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, disclosed this in Abuja after receiving the ISO accreditation certificate on behalf of the Federal Government.

“The accreditation of the laboratory for the research institute is a milestone, meaning that whatever research result that comes out of the lab is accepted internationally and complies with international best practices,”  Shehuri, who was represented by the Director, Agricultural Lands and Climate Change Management Services, FMARD, Shehu Bello, stated.

Explaining the functions of the NSPRI, the minister said, “What it does essentially is to check the quality of agricultural produce going out of this country and ensure that they comply with all specifications.

“But if you do that and you didn’t do it in an ISO recognised laboratory, it means that the produce will be subjected to further checks outside the country, which you will pay for and that will bring down the value of what you are exporting.

“But if you do the accreditation within your own country and it satisfies international specifications, the value goes up because you don’t need to spend more money doing another quality check outside the country.”

Shehuri further stated that agricultural goods meant for export passing through the laboratory would be of global standards.

He said, “They (certified agro-products) are qualified globally and you can contest it anywhere. Accreditation means that you are complying with the known international standards.

“So, whatever happens, there are already transparent standards which can be used to check what you are sending out. But if you don’t have the accreditation, you won’t have access to those standards. But now we have access to those standards, which we can comply with and that makes it easier for us to do more exports.”

The Executive Director, NSPRI, Patricia Pessu, noted that with improved funding over the last four years, the institute embarked on the rehabilitation of laboratories and started the ISO accreditation process about three years ago.

She said, “This is a great feat for NSPRI because we can now boast of a laboratory where analysis can be done with quality assurance that is credible, reproducible, robust, and globally accepted results.

“The immediate gain of this certification is that NSPRI can now be reconned with as an institution contributing to food quality and safety in Nigeria. The institute is now on the global map of food analysis which will further increase our reach and impact.”

Pessu added, “Also, local food exporters will face fewer challenges at the Nigerian ports by proving the quality of their food exports, as NSPRI’s food quality certification is globally-recognised.

“In addition, food exports from Nigeria which are certified to have successfully passed NSPRI’s quality assurance tests will face less risks of rejection in global export markets.”

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