Stakeholders fault agric agencies’ policies

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Experts in the Nigerian agricultural sector have blamed the regulatory agencies in the sector for bottle necks they allegedly created in obtaining necessary permits.

Uba Group

President, Women in Agricultural Advancement and Sustainability Africa, Ms. Chi Tola, alleged that the agencies frustrated efforts of small processors to obtain necessary permits and endorsements. She therefore called on the Federal Government to monitor the activities of these regulatory bodies and also review the regulatory policies to make it small processors-friendly.

According to the WAASA boss, the Federal Government should make specific and dedicated policies and special consideration for agriculture and its value chain. She said, “This call has become imperative now, as many small holder farmers, who are willing to venture into agro processing, are having difficulty getting regulatory permits.

A small holder farmer, who has decided to go into okra farming and processing, seeking to have a National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control permit to process and package okra for distribution and sale in Nigeria, should not be made to pay so much with extensive visits.

“The Federal Government must review some of these requirements to accommodate small scale processors. Standards must be high, but fees and procedures must be accommodating for us to really maximise the economic growth potentials in the agro value chain and evaluate the extent of the government’s efforts in supporting local food processors.”

Standards must be high, but fees and procedures must be accommodating for us to really maximise the economic growth potentials in the agro value chain

Another stakeholder, Mr. Shina Taiwo, stated that most of the sales outlets in Nigeria are now aware of the need to sell products that are NAFDAC approved, but the question remains, how many of these small processors can afford the fees? Does processing of these farm harvests require all that is being requested by the regulating body? He said, “While change in emerging markets is dramatic, the developed economies are also experiencing a shift in consumption patterns. Nigerians also are more health conscious than ever before.

They are worried about the content of their food, its origin, freshness, and safety. “These consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of food production and its impact on the environment. Training programs are ongoing in the areas of packaging, processing organically, and preservation, after these actions are required.”

He emphasised that weighing the concerns over the dwindling revenue profile of Nigeria, there is the need to review several policies and monitor the activities of some of these food regulatory bodies in Nigeria.