Agric: Regulatory agencies frustrates small processors effort in obtaining permits, WAASA founder laments

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Founder and President of the Women in Agricultural Advancement & Sustainability Africa (WAASA), Ms. Chi Tola, have expressed worry over bottlenecks in obtaining necessary permits and endorsement by the small processors from the regulatory agencies in Nigeria.
Founder and President of the Women in Agricultural Advancement & Sustainability Africa (WAASA), Ms. Chi Tola

She is calling on the Federal Government to not only monitor the activities of these regulatory bodies but also review the regulatory policies to make it small processors friendly.
According to statement made avaliabe to agriculture journalists in Lagos, Tola, urged Federa Government to specifics and dedicated policies and special consideration for Agriculture and its value chain.
“This call has become imperative now as many small holder farmers who are willing to venture into agro processing are having difficulty getting regulatory permits. A small holder farmer who has decided to go into Okra farming and processing, seeking to have a NAFDAC permit to process and package okra for distribution and sale in Nigeria should not be made to pay so much with extensive visits.
“Federal Government must review some of these requirements to accommodate small scale processors. Standards must be high but fees and procedures must be accommodating for us to really maximize the economic growth potentials in the agro value chain and evaluate the extent of the government’s efforts in supporting local food processors”, she appealed.
“Most of the sales outlets in Nigeria now are becoming aware of the need for products sold at their shops etc to be NAFDAC registered, but the question remains, how many of these small processors can afford the fees? Does processing of these farm harvests require all that is being asked for by the regulating body,” she added.
Ms. Tola further said, “While change in emerging markets is dramatic, the developed economies are also experiencing a shift in consumption patterns. Nigerians also are more health conscious than ever before. They are worried about the content of their food, its origin, freshness, and safety.
“These consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of food production and its impact on the environment. Training programs are on going in the areas of packaging, processing organically, and preservation etc, after these actions are required”, she advised.
WAASA President noted that in October 2011, the world population passed the 7 billion mark, such growth alone has put a massive strain on the global food supply. 
She emphassed that weighing the concerns over the dwindling revenue profile of Nigeria, there is the need to review several policies and monitor the activities of some of these food regulatory bodies in Nigeria.
“Food processing industry in Nigeria is increasingly now being seen as a potential source for driving the rural economy as it brings about synergy between the consumer, industry and agriculture. A well-developed outcome focused food processing industry is expected to increase farm gate prices, reduce wastages, ensure value addition, promote crop diversification, generate employment opportunities as well as export earnings”, she added.

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