Anambra commences certification of agricultural produce
By Sunny A. David, Onitsha
In its bid to forestall further adulteration of Anambra State agricultural produce and legally prosecute offenders, the state government in collaboration with the IFAD VCDP has commenced the process of certifying state Agric Produce through the Standards Organization of Nigeria, (SON).
The certification process which followed a one-day advocacy and awareness campaign on safety, health and sustainable environment took staff of SON and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to processing centres in Omor, Ayamelum Local Government Area and Umueze-Anam in Anambra West Local Government Area for the first stage of MANCAP factory inspection.
On arrival at Udoka Rice Mill Omor, the team was conducted round the mill by the Managing Director, Sir. Paul Egwuatu, who took them through the various processing stages and listed the various ranges and sizes of packaging bags.
His cassava processing counterpart at Umueze-Anam, Chief Mrs. Theresa Anaja-Obi, chairman Nneamaka Cassava Processing Centre who applauded Governor Wille Obiano for availing them what she described as rare opportunity, promised to comply with SON’s directives and advice, noting that they had already completed most of the requirements.
Speaking shortly after the MANCAP factory inspection of the processing centers, the Senior Standard Officer of SON, Lady Anne Osakwe said based on what they saw on ground and the level of hygiene and general sanitation of the centers, the processing centers can be keyed into MANCAP certification.
Lady Osakwe who described factories as ones kitchen hence should be kept neat always, said that they have not started documentations as staff of the processing centers are yet to use the complete set of Personnel Protective Equipment, PPE, assuring that if they comply with the standards and directives given to them, they will no doubt be certified and given MANCAP certificate logo.
On his part, the Assistant Director, Consumer Education, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission South East zone, Awka, Mr. Anthony Nwafor said he was confident that if the processing centers totally comply with the standards and directives given to them by SON and other regulatory agencies the consumers will be given quality foods on the table.
Earlier in his speech, the State Agro Processing and Quality Enhancement officer, IFAD VCDP, Mr. Bonaventure Muochebe noted that the MANCAP factory inspection tour was aimed at educating Anambra State Agric processors on the ethics of processing to get them duly certified by SON and registered by NAFDAC for their produce to be accepted globally. The tour ended with an interactive sessions at the various centers visited.