The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has introduced fresh standards to combat the high level of rejection faced by Nigeria’s agricultural commodities at the global markets.
The move according to the standards body is apt and timely to make Nigeria agro commodities competitive at the international markets, especially with the introduction of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, stated this on the sidelines of the visit of SON Governing Council to audit SON’s facilities in Ogba area of Lagos.
According to him, most of the times when Nigerian goods are rejected, it is due to failing to go through standard procedure locally before exporting to other countries, saying that as long as exporters continue to ignore local available standards, their products would continue to be rejected.
He added: “Exporters do not check the standards of the country they are exporting to so as long as our exporters ignore our standards, they will still have their products rejected, but if they follow the procedures, we are here to partner and assist them to make sure that their products are accepted globally.”
“If the exporters come through us and they follow the standards of our country and they follow the standards of the country they are exporting to, then they should not have a problem,” he assured.
He added that the standards that were approved were painstakingly developed through stakeholders’ input and consideration, pointing out that the move was an indication that standards body is working very hard to ensure that products in this country are not only up to standards, but produced for export.
“In December, we will have another council meeting to approve new standards. Every standard we put out there is strategic to AfCFTA, because when we establish our standard, it is expected for people who are expecting our goods to look at the standards and then know that the products approved are up to standards. So really, that is a guideline for everything you can think of,” he said.
The SON boss added “Some of the standards approved have to do with hair and now that people in that line of business now knows that there is a standard for that kind of product in the market. We have standards for food and feed. Any one who is planning to go into fish farming can always come to us to get this standard to start their fish farming business. For the ordinary man on the street when they see the standards they will know SON has approved it and it has also been established by the stakeholders and the users of that product. The reason why we develop standards is that when we are shipping products from Nigeria to other country, you have a stamp on it and for the person receiving this product would see the sign of quality on the products and also realise that the product is meeting the set standards.”
He noted that standards are really important and Critical in its bid to protect unsuspecting consumers from sub-standard goods.
In his words, “The food standards are very important especially for the fish feed standards that we have depending on the kind of fish to be bred in your fish farm. You can use the standards to mix your own fish feed and it means you do not have to import the fish feeds. The same thing you have for poultry. The standards are out there whether you are out to boost meat production or egg laying. The same for cattle either for milk or meat production.”
Earlier, the Chairman, SON Governing Council, Mrs. Evelyn Ngige, said a total of 37 new standards has been unveiled to boost Nigeria’s industrial development.
She explained that three out of the 37 new standards were reviewed, eight were newly developed while 26 have been adopted for the existing international standards.
According to her, the approved standards which cut across various sectors of the Nigerian economy are in line with the approved Nigerian Industrial Standardisation Strategy which focuses on stakeholders and market demands for optimisation of available resources.
She noted that 10 of the standards are developed for chemical technology in particular for plastic piping products, thermoplast pipes, human and synthetic hair extension.