The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has advised manufacturers of African fermented condiments to take advantage of the development of standards and code of practices in their production processes to promote greater competitiveness for the products, locally and for export.
The DAILY TRUST reports that the Director-General of the organization, Osita Aboloma, made the call at the opening of a technical committee meeting on Culinary Herbs, Spices, Seasonings, Tea and Flavourings held at the SON Training Centre in Lagos.
Represented at the forum by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Dr Yahaya Nuhu Fana, the SON chief stressed that the standardisation of the processes of production and quality of African fermented condiments were critical to their operations in order to satisfy consumers and boost patronage of the products.
Noting that Africa is highly endowed with many fermented food condiments with available literature review identifying nine different products in Nigeria alone, the standardization expert said that production dynamics and methods employed in the manufacture of these fermented condiments differed from one region to another.
He said the microbial interplay during production and the nutritional qualities in the condiments, however, appear to be the same.
“Standards form the backbone of Quality Assurance that facilitates trading hinged on specifications, adherence to common testing regimes, use of common language, provision of the specified level of quality and following international best practices,” he said.
Aboloma further described the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) as a precise and authoritative document that prescribes rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or for their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order for a product or service.
He charged manufacturers of fermented condiments producers in the continent to ensure compliance to minimum quality requirements and safety of these products as highlighted in the standard when finally approved by the Standards Council.
In his remarks at the event, the Chairman of the Technical Committee, Professor Adeniyi Ogunjobi of the University of Ibadan, disclosed that Nigeria was leading the way for the rest of the African countries to follow as there are no record of standards for the set of condiments.
He disclosed that the products were already being exported to other countries of the world, hence the need to develop the standard and code of practice for comparison and conformity assessment in view of the imminent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
On Nigeria’s roles in the standardization agenda, the university don said: “We must be seen to provide leadership in many areas. We as a nation should not be waiting for others to give us standard to follow as many of those nations do not have the expertise that is available here.”