The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says its One- State-One-Product Programme, under the “Zero Oil” initiative, is designed to create employment in states across the country.

This would be done through the value-addition of identified products, enhanced income generation, and wealth creation opportunities for the people as well as empower state and other communities towards achieving economic growth through adequate usage of their locally available resources.

The Deputy Director/Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Mrs Pauline Ndulaka, made this known in Uyo at a workshop, themed, “Quality, Standards, Packaging, Labelling and Certification of processed foods in Akwa Ibom State.”

She noted that the current slide in crude oil prices has awakened the need to diversify activities and move away from a mono-product economy.

Ndulaka said NEPC in its strategic mandate to drive the non-oil export business has gone the extra mile to articulate programmes to raise salient issues detrimental to best practices in the overall value chain.

She said the workshop theme could not have come at a better time than now, given the embarrassing rate at which Nigerian non-oil products in recent times are being subjected to several backlash and rejection at the global market due to obvious deficiency in both good agricultural and manufacturing practices.

She revealed that the monumental economic waste could have been contained if the processor had applied adequate and conscientious control checks and sanitary measures with the product value chain points.

She insisted that Nigeria has good and quality products, adding that quality packaging/labelling and certification of processed foods for export will create employment opportunities for the teeming youths as well as help in products’ exportation.

Ndulaka said the workshop is poised to bring to the front burner, the needed awareness and proffer solutions on how to be on page with good manufacturing practises in Exportable product development for standards and competitive products at the global market.

The Executive Director, NEPC, Segun Awolowo, noted that product certification is very important before venturing into the export market, and a function of the quality assurance put in place by a company.

Awolowo identified two types of certification – mandatory and non-mandatory certification. While the mandatory certification is compulsory and a prerequisite to market products locally, the non-mandatory certification on the other hand, although not compulsory but still very necessary to ensure easy access to overseas markets.

He said the Council is conducting training on export business through zero-oil export clinic and training on good agricultural practices (GAP), and good storage practises (GSP), to ensure value addition with a view to diversifying the non-oil export.

Awolowo said the global market has changed systematically, with a preference for products with certification, thereby edging out producers without certification on their products. He added that packaging and labelling is another essential component of product development in terms of quality/standard and market promotion.

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