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  • Kogi To Enforce Agricultural Produce Law

    Mar 27th, 2019

    Kogi State government said it has put in place necessary measures to ensure the implementation and strict enforcement of agricultural produce laws to arrest adulteration of cashew nuts produced in the state. The state commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba disclosed this at a one-day workshop on “Cashew Nuts Quality Control and Regulations” organised for stakeholders in the cashew value chain in Anyigba.

    The workshop organised by Federal Produce Inspection Service (FPIS) of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment attracted participants from farmers’ associations, licenced buyers’ agents, exporters, processors and government agencies.

    Oloruntoba who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr Emmanuel Idenyi said Nigerian cashew used to be the best in the world, but the quality has been on the ebb in the last two years. “To forestall further depreciation of quality, we came up with a lot of measures that will prevent and arrest the adulteration of our produce by producers from other states. “We are now going on strict enforcement of the produce laws. We will ensure 100 per cent compliance to arrest anyone collaborating or indulging in sharp practices.

    “The bags to be used are coded and branded with Kogi name and seal. Any unbranded produce that is intercepted will be impounded. “Security agencies have been informed, Produce Guards have been mandated to enforce the laws and they are going to be everywhere, at the warehouses and even on the farms too”, he said. Coordinator of the programme and deputy director in the Federal Produce Inspection Service, Mr Idris Dafang said that the quality of cashew nuts from Nigeria in the international market had become an issue of great concern to the federal government.

    He said that the programme was necessitated by the serial rejection of cashew nuts from the country last year and the need to ensure that every produce leaving the shores of Nigeria met required international standard. Dafang said there was a glut of cashew nuts in the international market two years ago as some other countries went into cashew production creating a highly competitive market environment with quality as the main determinant for demand.

    He said that in 2017, the federal government met with representatives of the markets from Vietnam and India in Abuja over the issue of glut, standardisation and quality control leading to eventual mop-up of the cashew nuts in warehouses in Lagos. The coordinator held that more sensitisation would be carried out across Kogi State and hopefully, in the next two years, the state would assume its position as the producer of cashew in Nigeria and the nation would reclaim its number one position in the international market.

    In her goodwill message, director Produce at the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Lokoja, Amina Abdulmalik decried the level of rejection of Nigerian cashew nuts in the international market. She attributed this to the fall in standard and urged the participants to imbibe necessary knowledge to enhance quality assurance and improvement of market for the product. National leader of National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) Alhaji Ichapi Mohammed, said the production chain could not be said to be complete until the product got to the final consumer adding that the chain was being impeded by paucity of funds.