Chairman, National Quality Council (NQC), Osita Aboloma has enjoined stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Nigeria to provide necessary support to ensure the success of the forthcoming African Cassava Conference (ACC) scheduled for Abuja in October 2023.Aboloma called on the organised private sector, relevant Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Financial Institutions, Development Partners as well as Educational Institutions in the agricultural sector to actively participate through sponsorship, presentation of papers, panel discussions and exhibition of Cassava derivatives and innovations during the 3day scheduled Conference. The NQC Chief Executive made the call in his opening remarks at a meeting of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Conference, hosted by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria at its Headquarters in Abuja over the weekend.
Represented by Mr. Bola Fashina, his Chief of Staff, the NQC Chief Executive reiterated the need for Nigeria to take optimum advantage of the opportunity provided by the hosting of the continental Conference, to leverage on maximum gains from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in view of the Federal Government’s recent declaration of a state of emergency on food security. He commended SON and other LOC members for the hosting of successive meetings of the Committee as well as valuable contributions towards ensuring that Nigeria delivers on the Conference successfully. Earlier in his welcome address, Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim enthused that Standards play a pivotal role in ensuring quality, safety and competitiveness of Nigeria’s agricultural produce including Cassava and its derivatives. According to him, standards provide a solid foundation for innovation, trade facilitation and consumer protection, while also enabling market access and enhancing the reputation of the Nation’s products on the global stage.
Represented by Mrs Abigail Gbonko, Assistant Director, Product Certification, the SON Chief Executive pointed out that the Conference being hosted by Nigeria between October 18th and 20th, 2023 in Abuja holds immense significance for the Nation, as it would bring together experts, stakeholders and enthusiasts from diverse fields across the Continent to deliberate on the opportunities and challenges relating to the Cassava value chain in Africa. The SON Chief Executive acknowledged the efforts and commitment of the LOC members towards delivering a successful programme and commended the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Pan African Quality Infrastructure (PAQI) for finding Nigeria worthy of hosting the continental Conference. He assured the gathering of SON’s commitment towards the Conference, particularly in ensuring that requisite Nigerian Industrial Standards are made available for all derivatives of Cassava for local consumption as well as export. A presentation of ACC progress report, timelines and actions were made by the Chief Executive of Abomax Arena Ltd., the Conference Managers, Ms. Heather-Ronke Akanni, following which extensive discussions were held by the LOC members.
In his remarks, Country Manager of HarvestPlus Nigeria, Mr. Yusuf Dollah stated that the Conference would provide an opportunity for his organisation and others to showcase recent efforts in the development of the Cassava value chain while also promising full technical support towards its successful execution. He stressed the need for Nigeria to have and implement a robust policy on Cassava either on its own or as part of a general policy on food security in order to fully harness the benefits along the entire value chain of the crop. The LOC meeting was attended by representatives of the National Quality Council (NQC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria National Accreditation System (NiNAS), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Harvestplus Nigeria and the Nigerian Governor’s Forum among others.