The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), continued its nationwide advocacy/sensitisation programme on agricultural quality control and standardisation for South-West states, today at Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
In collaboration with the Lagos State Government (LASG), the ministry said the aim of the programme was to inculcate the Culture of Quality in the agro sector for all stakeholders.
The programme has been successfully hosted by the government of Kano State for North-West, Benue State for North-Central and Enugu State for South-East.
Delivering the opening address as the chief host, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Lagos State, Hon. Oluwatoyin Suarau, expressed delight on the programme, describing it as very crucial to achieving the standard requirement of agro produce meant for export.
In the same vein, the Honourable Minister of FMARD, Chief Audu Ogbeh, represented by the Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, in his keynote address, emphasised on the importance of quality control right from the farm.
“Quality control starts from the farm, through proper land clearing, efficient chemical application, addressing postharvest losses gaps, processing and a host of others. If we want to truly diversify our economy through agriculture, quality agro commodities has to be inculcated among all stakeholders in the agric sector both the public and private,” he said.
The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, who was represented by the CEO, Federal Produce Inspectorate Services, Akabueze Michael, said it is important the programme is taken seriously if we are to achieve the Zero Reject Initiative of most of the agro products produced in the country.
Some farmers who spoke to AgroNigeria, complained that they had challenges exporting some of their produce because of quality related issues. They said if the ministry of agric can help them sort out this problem through the aim of the programme, most farmers will be very happy which would encourage more farmers.
Highlights of the programme featured the distribution of intervention materials to some farmers to aid their farm operations in rice, maize, vegetable and cassava farming. The event was well attended by producers, processors, potential exporters as well as other dignitaries from the South-West region.
The programme continues tomorrow with a field visit around farms and locations in the state.