Founder and President of the Women in Agricultural Advancement & Sustainability Africa (WAASA), Ms. Chi Tola, has expressed worry over bottlenecks in obtaining necessary permits and endorsement by the small processors from regulatory agencies in Nigeria.
She is calling on the federal government to, not only monitor the activities of these regulatory bodies, but also review the regulatory policies to make them small processors friendly.
According to a statement made available to agriculture journalists in Lagos, Tola urged the federal government to specify and dedicate policies and special consideration for agriculture and its value chain.
“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 NAFDAC 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 maximize the economic growth potentials in the agro value chain and evaluate the extent of the government’s efforts in supporting local food processors,” she said.
“Most of the sales outlets in Nigeria now are becoming aware of the need for products to be NAFDAC registered, but the questions remain; how many of these small processors can afford the fees? Does processing of these farm harvests require all that is being asked for by the regulating body,” she noted.