The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has enjoined Farmers and processors of sorghum in Kano State and its environs to embrace the constant innovations provided in the standardisation process, in order to earn a premium on the commercialization of high-quality sorghum products.
SON Director General, Osita Aboloma Esq. who gave this admonition in a paper presented at training on food safety standards for food processors, stressed the need for Nigerian Farmers and regulatory agencies to continue to link up. This he said is in order to foster the desired level of growth in quality food processing generally, with particular reference to sorghum products.
Organised by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) amongst others, the training was part of the Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1 (ATASP -1).
Welcoming the participants, Dr. Hakeem Ajeigbe, Sorghum Commodity Specialist/ICRISAT Nigeria Country Representative enumerated the objectives of the project as being to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and processors and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states by training sorghum food actors on the appropriate food safety standards and regulations.
The SON paper was presented by the Kano and Jigawa States Coordinator, Alhaji Yunusa Muhammad, who asserted that the organisation continually promote product quality and safety, including for the agro-allied sector, through the elaboration, review, adoption and harmonization of standards via stakeholders’ active involvement.
According to him, other areas of SON contribution to general trade facilitation include, product certification, management systems certification, laboratory testing, metrology services and national capacity development through the SON training services.
He disclosed that the SON internationally accredited Laboratories, management systems certification and training services would ensure local and international acceptance of all the services enjoyed by stakeholders including sorghum processors, particularly on food safety and regulation.
Also in a joint-paper on Harvesting, Threshing, Cleaning and Packaging of Sorghum, Messrs. Hakeem Ajeigbe, Akinseye F.M. and Aliyu Adinoyi of ICRISAT, asserted the need to double the efforts put into production for harvesting and postharvest activities in order to reduce loss and optimize profit on investment. According to them, other postharvest activities such as drying and storage should be given adequate and appropriate attention.
The ICRISAT paper also focussed on methods of sorghum harvesting, drying, threshing (traditional and mechanised methods), packaging of threshed sorghum, advantages and disadvantages of packaging materials among others.
A representative of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) also presented a paper on Food Safety Regulation.
The training attracted small and medium scale farmers and processors of sorghum from 4 ATASP-1 zones, namely Adani-Omor, Bida-Badeggi, Kano-Jigawa and Kebbi-Sokoto.