Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Dr Joseph Odumodu, has said that Nigeria loses huge sums by exporting untested agricultural products.
Odumodu made the disclosure yesterday in an interview with newsmen in Abuja said if the country wanted to promote non-oil export; it could not achieve the target by selling sub-standard commodities.
He said that while Nigeria like other countries was focusing on agro business to earn revenue, the main challenge in the exportation of produce was that exporters never followed the law on standardisation.
According to him, “Lots of Nigerians are now exporting agricultural products but one of the challenges we have seen is that most of our commodities are not easily accepted in Europe. The challenge we have is that people try not to do what the law says.”
“Exporters send goods without testing them and once they get there and are tested, if the goods do not comply with the standard, it will be destroyed or sent back to Nigeria.
“So such act gives the country bad image because it is negative news yet it is one person who tries to smuggle the product into that country” he said.
Odumodu further said that Nigeria must clearly define the process for exporting agricultural products and put sanctions in place for defaulters.
“I think what we need to do going forward is to create sanctions, there must be a clearly defined process for export of agricultural products.
“Once those processes are defined, then the onus will now be on us to ensure that before you send any procedure out of Nigeria, it must be tested and certified by an accredited lab. It doesn’t have to be owned by SON.
“There is no other agency or any lab that has that level of scope for agricultural products and we test something as complex as metal in food up to fungi contamination” he said.
He said Nigeria is a member of CODEX Allimentarius Committee, a standardisation body affiliated to World Health Organisation, responsible for determining standards for food products.
The Director-General said most times, in order to preserve products for export, Nigerians added more chemicals than required and as a result such products were rejected at the point of destination.
Odumodu suggested that there was a need to educate exporters on standards and specifications.
He stressed that the Government should ensure that all the relevant agencies come together to have a standards, adding that nothing actually leaves Nigeria without the knowledge of the agencies.
“The important thing is that all of us must agree that this must be done so that no commodity leaves Nigeria without the certificate of certification.
“Nigeria can achieve 100 per cent acceptance or zero per cent rejection, but we have to do what we have to do back home, but which we are not doing” he said.

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