Stakeholders Canvass Standard Weight, Measure For Farm Produce
To grow the nation’s economy and agriculture value chain, stakeholders in the sector have called for standard weight and measure for rice, cassava and other produce, describing them as critical tools needed.
They made the call during a policy dialogue on standard weight and measure for cassava and rice value chains in Awka.
The meeting was organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).
In attendance were representatives from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Anambra Ministries of Agriculture and Trade and Commerce as well as Consumer Protection Council (CPC), traders and farmers associations, among others.
Mr Ken Ukaoha, lead Consultant on Weights and Measure to IFAD-VCDP, said standard weight and measure across the country would ensure that people had value for their money.
“We are looking at standardising weights and measures in Nigeria so that consumers can get value for their money.
“We have existing laws on this; we have Weights and Measures Act Cap3, 2004; Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Inspection Law for Export, Cap 25, among others, including the Act that established Standard Organisation of Nigeria.
“However, there had been failure in terms of sensitisation, education and understanding of the contents of the laws and provisions.
“Also, the enforcement of the law has been absolutely low, if not non-existent, and therefore, there is need to ensure that these laws are implemented and enforced.
“So, if I buy rice that weighs 25kg anywhere in the country, it must give me 25kg and not otherwise,” he said, adding that it would also help in the export of commodities.
Also speaking, the state Coordinator of SON, Mrs Nwaoma Olujie, said standard weight and measure was critical to Federal Government’s investments in the agriculture sector for export.
The coordinator said Nigeria was losing patronage in the West African region due to complaints arising from inaccurate weight and measure, adding that standardisation was the only remedy.
Olujie explained that SON, in collaboration with UNIDO, had midwifed the National Metrology Institute, Enugu, to tackle primary, secondary and tertiary measurement issues.
“Weight has been an issue in the country. Only fish and chicken are sold using weight and measurement, but the beef sellers only use their discretion for different people without getting the same result.
“How are we sure of the weight used in the market? What is the calibration status? Is one kg actually one kg?”
Olujie stressed the need for frequent calibration of weight and measure.
In his remarks, National Programme Coordinator of IFAD-VCDP, Mr Amen Onoja, represented by Mr Kennedy Esinulo, appealed to the Anambra Government for support in ensuring total implementation and compliance.
On his part, Mr Afam Mbanefo, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export, said the state government was working to ensure that rice farmers complied with weight and measure regulation.
Also, the state Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr Christian Mmadubuko, represented by Mr Daniel Okoh, said standardisation would restore confidence and trust among farmers, traders and consumers.
The State Project Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, said the aim was zero rejection for produce exported from the country through its farmers.
“The dialogue is aimed at encouraging farmers, producers, processors and marketers to use standard weight and measures, such that our export produce would not be rejected,” he added.
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