The Standards Organisations of Nigeria (SON) has begun the training of over 300 perishable food farmers and dealers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in Kano State.
Malam Faruk Salim, the Director-General of the organisation, stated this at the inauguration of the training exercise on Wednesday in Kano.
Salim, represented by Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, Director Standards in the organisation, said the training exercise was a pilot scheme designed to expose participants on GAP for priority selected produce in each state of the federation.
He said that pepper, tomato and onions were selected as focus produce in Kano State, adding that the training would improve farmer enterprising skills, promote preservation and processing.
This, he said, would also encourage productivity, enhance value addition and create market for the produce.
“We are hopeful that at the end of the exercise, quality practices to add value to the entire tomato, onions and pepper value chain would have been learnt and our capacity to export these produce will be initiated,” he said.
According to him, the programme focuses on the tested and best ways in which farmers can achieve higher yields at harvest, ensure good processing, packaging, preservation and transportation to the market.
Salim said the role of the organisation was to support and promote quality in production, trade, export and import, agreements, contracts and investments.
“It is imperative that we use national advantage in tomato and pepper production to achieve a significant rise in self- sufficiency and export.
“As we are all aware, trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in Jan. 1, 2021, and serve as major opportunity for export within Africa,” he said.
According to him, AfCFTA standards and quality are key to successful export, saying that SON was well positioned to support exporters with certifications of their products to validate compliance to the requirements of the standards permit to export.
In a remark, Malam Yunusa Muhammad, Kano State Coordinator of SON, said that the workshop was also designed to increase the level of understanding of the participants with regards to quality requirements.
Muhammad said the essence of the programme was to ensure that they get basic requirements needed from the farm to export.
“It will also enable the farmers to understand what is expected of them to produce that is of quality and safe as well as guide them on requirements to certify their produce.
“When famers comply with the GAP, the issue of rejection of Nigerian goods by neighboring countries will reduce drastically,” he said.
He urged the participants to use the knowledge acquired to boost their production capacities.
Earlier, Dr. Idowu Agida of the National Institute of Horticultural Research, Ibadan, said that tomato was one of the most widely grown perishable in the world and also important source of vitamin A and C.
Agida said the potential benefits of GAP include increase productivity, quality and yields.
She said that the training would impart a combination of appropriate agricultural techniques that would help the farmers to cultivate quality produce for export.
Shem therefore, urged the participants to take advantage of the training exercise to build a sustainable agriculture for the country.
One of the participants, Hussain Bala, thanked the organisers for the gesture and promised to share the knowledge acquired with others.
The participants were drawn from the 44 local government areas of the state.