NAFDAC to assist small, medium scale agro-allied businesses in North-East

THE National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said it would go beyond its core mandate to assist small and medium scale businesses affected by the 12-year insurgency in the North-East. 

NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant Sayo Akintola disclosed this in a statement released on Sunday.

The statement said Director General of NAFDAC Mojisola Adeyeye, who spoke through the Zonal Director North-East Bukar Usman, said the agency would also help small businesses in the agro-allied sector overcome insurgency-induced economic downturn and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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According to the statement Adeyeye believes that recovering from the socio-economic devastation that took place in the Lake Chad region in the last 12 years requires the support of all stakeholders.

The agro-allied sector is among the worst affected by the insurgency which has destroyed the socio-economic fabrics of the sub-region.

NAFDAC intends to go into value addition ventures based on the agro-allied sector that falls within its mandate, Adeyeye said.

She further observed that the considerable investment the Borno State government is making in agriculture “will bring about a multitude of value chain industries at the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) level”

“The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy; NAFDAC is bringing to the North-East a value addition,” Adeyeye added.

The NAFDAC DG noted that there will be an increase in the processing of agro-based products as more people go into agriculture.

“And if you are processing an agricultural product, it means most of the products needs packaging.

“Once one is processing and packaging, that enterprise has fallen within the mandate of NAFDAC. The mandate of NAFDAC is critical to adding value to whatever value addition they want to do in the agro-based sector.

“Training potential agro-entrepreneurs and food processors can achieve this on the regulatory reequipment and food safety aspect,” she said.

Adeyeye noted that lack of access to essential facilities for processing and packaging was the most critical challenge MSMEs face in the agricultural sector.

NAFDAC is willing to help the MSMEs to overcome the challenge, she promised.

“There is one major challenge for MSMEs in meeting this standard. On the issue of having the packaging or production facility, NAFDAC is now promoting the idea of shared facilities or contract manufacturing concept.

“The shared facility is done by encouraging the formation of cooperatives, and such cooperatives can have a single processing facility – maybe owned by 15 persons or business entities and each one of them can use it and have a shared cost,” Adeyeye explained.




     

     

    According to her, NAFDAC would recognize the cooperatives with such a facility and even register their processed products as long as the processing or packaging facility meets the required standard.

    The NAFDAC DG added that the presence of a zonal testing lab in Maiduguri would also go a long way in helping many micro, small and medium food processing outfits to overcome delays in getting their products tested and approved.

    “The zonal testing lab in Maiduguri has helped in reducing the stress of getting tests and approvals,” she said.

    Adeyeye commended NAFDAC’s Zonal Director for North-East Usman for convincing the BAY states – Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – to support MSMEs in the agro-allied processing and packaging industries.

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