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SON, UNIDO strategise to remove export barriers

To reduce rejection of Nigerian products in global markets, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) have strategized to deploy the use of standards to drive development in the nation’s agricultural sector.

According to the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, during a two- day training for SON staff on certification programmes, the agency’s partnership with UNIDO is aimed at ensuring that Nigeria’s ‎agricultural products from the farm to table meet the minimum requirement of global standards, adding that the collaboration would also end further occurrence of Nigeria’s agricultural produce being rejected at the global markets.

In his words: “Nigeria’s agriculture sector has the comparative and competitive advantage to compete globally. This is the reason SON is prioritising its efforts towards it to no limitation of our products in export market.‎ With some of Nigeria’s agricultural products currently being banned from some markets, the training will be very useful in preventing incidences of such a nature in the future.‎ After this training, some of such products have to be certified. SON is already very effective in MANCAP, and the SON has taken steps to ensure that the MANCAP certification will not only be acceptable at home but also throughout the whole world”.‎

In addition, Aboloma also emphasised the need for quality assurance in economic development, stressing that the agency is intensifying its efforts towards enforcing implementation of standard procedures and conformity assessments in the economy.

He pointed out that the staff certification programme was informed by the need to upgrade performance of those charged with standardisation, so that they would be able to deliver effectively on their jobs.

He added that with the training, all products and services certified by the SON henceforth would be accorded global acceptance, which would also impact on the country’s economic performance.

Chief Technical Adviser to UNIDO, Malik Shekar commended the commitment of the current leadership of SON, under Osita Aboloma saying: “He is putting his zeal on accreditation of more laboratories and more emphasis on manpower development and this is a good step in the right direction”.

The UNIDO Chief noted that at the completion of the staff certification, the organisation’s certification would be acceptable not only in Nigeria but throughout the world

“This is in line with the ISO 1705, it is key to penetrate the export market. SON would be integrated into the global network and all over the world, people want to know or see the test certificate and competence behind it.

“In trade agreement, both parties engaged in trade would only know if a product would meet your expectations simply by looking at the test certificate, the lab that conducted the test and if the certification is integrated in the global network. In other words, with the accreditation infrastructure in place, there would be more confidence in any issued certificate,” he added.

He recalled that SON Food and Chemistry accredited Laboratories had been recently recertified and have large scope to test agriculture products.
The SON boss said the agency had already taken other measures towards enhancing its performances in the area of standardisation and quality assurance.

He said to combat the influx of substandard goods in the country, the agency would relentlessly continue to mentor and provide technical assistance to local manufacturers and importers on the need to do things the right way.

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