Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has called to the Federal government to locate a Commodity Certification Center in Kano, to assist farmers in the state to promote quality of their produce.
He noted that the mainstay of the state’s economy was agriculture and its population is the largest in the country, hence the need for its farmers to adhere to international best practices in terms of agro outputs, to enhance food production and fast track economic development.
The governor made the assertion during flag off of the nationwide advocacy on Agricultural Quality Control and Standardization, across the six geo-political of the zones, tagged “Zero Reject Initiative”, at the Government House in Kano.
“It is only when our farm produce are quality assured that they will become marketable. The more we grow and export good produce, the better for us as farmers and the better for the national economy”, he maintained.
Ganduje, however, noted that despite the mass production in the agricultural sector as championed by the federal government’s diversification effort, farmers were still finding it difficult to add value to their commodities, hence the need for them to be more amenable extension services.
Accordingly he maintained that “Kano has been selected to be the focal state for the launch of this initiative, which is aimed at improving agricultural produce to the standards for export because agricultural products have been rejected several times by other countries due to so many factors including lack of traceability of farm produce and contamination among others.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, who was represented by a director in the Ministry, Aminu Babandi stated that selection of Kano for the flag off of the initiative was as a result of the position of Kano in the scheme things, pointing out that the advocacy was targeted at farmers and other stakeholders along the food chain.
According to him, Nigerians deserved good, safe and quality agro outputs for consumption which should be globally accepted like their counterparts across the globe, highlighting that quality control of commodities starts from the field operations, including land clearing, soil testing, seeds selection, chemical application and good agricultural practices.
Ogbeh disclosed that the Federal government “will establish commodities certification centers across the zones to aid certification, standardization and traceability”, lamenting that the federal government received 48 notifications from European Union (EU) between July 2016 and June 2017 on export goods due to aflatoxin and many other contaminants either biological or chemical.
“The ban on dry beans from Nigeria by EU, therefore, geared our attention to what is an eye opener that we have actually been consuming poison unknowingly,” he stated, adding that “there is no time than now to mainstream food safety into agricultural production if we want to really diversify our economy using agriculture as veritable tool and also have our own share”.
A prominent farmer and community leader in Kano, Sarkin Noma Alhaji Nadabo Chiromawa, who also spoke during the occasion, described the advocacy meeting as a welcome development but requested more technical assistance for farmers, from the Federal government to make the set goals achievable.