The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, will soon embark on a nationwide advocacy tour of the six geo-political zones on agricultural quality control and standardisation.
Ogbeh told newsmen in Abuja that the advocacy was necessary in order to address issues leading to the ban imposed by the European Union (EU) of the country’s agricultural produce in the international market.
Our correspondent reports that the nationwide advocacy visit to the six geo-political zones will start on July 23 and end on Aug. 26.
“The quality control of our commodities starts from the field operations, including land clearing, soil testing, seed selection, varietal selection, chemical application, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and post-harvest operations.
“There is no time than now to mainstream food safety into agricultural production if we want to really diversify our economy, using agriculture as a veritable tool and also have our share of the export.
“The nationwide advocacy on quality control and standardisation of agricultural commodities is targeting primary farmers and other stakeholders along the food value chain.
“We need to inculcate the culture of agro quality among key policy makers, in both public and private institutions, propelling them to recognise the essential role of food safety in production to the sale point of our commodity,’’ he said.
According to Ogbeh, there will be commodities certification centres across the six geopolitical zones to aid certification, standardisation and traceability of any agricultural product.
He added that the advocacy would start in Kano State for North-West to Borno for North-East, to Benue for North-Central, to Enugu State for South-East, to Rivers for South-South and Lagos State for South-West.
“Nigerians also deserve good, safe and quality agro outputs for consumption and should be globally accepted like their counterparts across the globe.
“The ban on our dry beans by EU (European Union) draws our attention that we have actually been consuming poison unknowingly, which has resulted to an increase on non-communicable disease,’’ he added.
Ogbeh, however, commended the Standing Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee on Zero Reject of Agricultural Commodities and Non-Oil Export for its hard work and UNIDO as a consultant partner.