SON, EU BUILDS OPERATORS’ CAPACITY ON NON-OIL EXPORTS

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration with European Union (EU) has concluded plans to organise a final national training on standards on code of practice for some agriculture produces.
The workshop is scheduled for Abuja on April 2016 , according to a statement jointly signed by Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, Acting Director of SON and Mrs. Irina Kireeva of EU.
It adds that the event would unveil the results of training facilitated by the organisation focusing on exports on key agriculture commodities including cocoa, beans, shea butter, and melon .
A release by the organisers says the Theme of the training is ‘Standard and Quality– Unleashing the potential of Agricultural products to grow the Non-oil Exports in Nigeria’, and is being organised under the auspices of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries from the EU’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).About 100 participants are expected at the forum.
The project is coming in the heels of EU ban of Nigeria beans in the international market, and would eventually equip participants with the technicalities’ of the export market, with regards to the issues development of standards and the engagement of the private sector.
The TBT Programme is financed by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund, with its main objective being to contribute to improving competitiveness in local, regional and export markets by enhancing the export capacity of economic operators in ACP countries. These it seeks to achieve through: the enhancement of the capacity of regional and continental quality infrastructure institutions; coordination and harmonisation of ACP technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures to facilitate intra-regional trade.
Other are through the provision of a pool of broadened capacity of economic operators to comply with Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures set by major trading partners in selected priority sectors;
It is a demand-driven programme responding to requests for capacity building from ACP countries to ensure full ownership by the ACP beneficiaries.
On the other hand, the SON is a statutory government agency and has the sole responsibility for National Policy on Standards, Standards Specification, Quality Control and Metrology, Manufacturer, Industrial and imported products and services.
SON is an active member of the African Regional Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is the Food Standardization Organ of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is also a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
From January 2013, the SON officially released a new SONCAP process with a completely revised conformity assessment structure.
The mandate of the organisation includes preparation of standards relating to products, measurements, materials, processes and services amongst others and their promotion at National, Regional and International Levels; certification of products, assistance in the production of quality goods and services; improvement of measurement accuracies and circulation of information relating to standard.
This is why a number of standards and codes of practice for processing agricultural products have been chosen by SON for developing with the technical assistance provided by the current project, the release added.

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