The President, Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), Alhaji Sani Dangote, has urged the government to encourage accreditation of private laboratories to allow Nigeria to export tested foods . (food testing facilities)
He said Nigeria has a limited number of food laboratories.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, Dangote said the accreditation became necessary in view of the fact that the few ones established by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) could not cover the volume of food produced across the country.
He said accreditation of other food testing facilities would assist the industry to certify foods for sale in the local and export markets.
He said the development of the National Quality Infrastructure was important and the accreditation of more food testing labs vital to the economy.
He pointed out that with such accreditation, goods tested for export at private labs will not be withheld in the ports of other countries to be rechecked. Usually, when goods are held in the ports of the importing country, there is a decrease in the confidence of potential buyers and time is wasted.
He noted that with less process of exporting foods, the country can look forward to earning more foreign exchange.
According to the industrialist if standards are maintained and adhered to, fake and sub-standard products would definitely go out of circulation and would pave way for the nation’s agro-allied and local industries to thrive, arguing that SON owed it a duty to facilitate the development and accreditation of private laboratories across the country for the use of small and medium scale enterprises.
According to him, the benefits of having such internationally accredited labs are numerous and cannot be ignored if Nigeria must take its pride of place in the global market. For one, local products will be standardised and certified, thereby reducing substantially the preponderance of fake and substandard goods. Besides, access to certification will also drive down costs based on the fact that Nigerian officials will no longer need to travel abroad to get samples of products tested.
The reduction in the cost and, indeed, the time taken for certification will be reflected in the economy through a reduction in the prices of goods and services. Cost of output will drastically reduce for the manufacturers through the SON’s intervention.
He said the private sector has the capacity to promote growth in agriculture with the Federal Government create the enabling environment.