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‘How to improve market access through voluntary certification’

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Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo

To aid improved market access for exporters of processed foods, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has commenced an awareness programme on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), alongside other voluntary certifications.
 
Indeed, the NEPC noted that it had become imperative for non-oil exporters to acquire additional non-mandatory certification to enable them to compete effectively in the global markets.
    
HACCP is a tool to assess hazards and establish control systems that focus on prevention rather than relying mainly on end-product testing.
  
Addressing exporters at an awareness training programme, tagged, “Go Global, Go for Certification Initiative,” in Owerri, yesterday, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, explained that non-mandatory certifications like the ISO, HACCP, and GMP are global certification. These are trusted by consumers and end-users of products and services, and are attained, based on the reputation of the certifying bodies.
 
Awolowo, who was represented by Director, Products Development Department, NEPC, William Ezeagu, added that the training was designed to increase awareness about the basic rudiments of food safety for non-oil exporters’ products.
  
He explained that the training will further encourage them to attain full certification through a Conformity Assessment Body, as well as ease global market entry for their products, thereby boosting Nigeria’s non-oil export portfolio.
  
He said: “We are looking at value-addition for our products. Our export strength is in the area of processed foods and we are exploring how to improve the quality. Beyond the mandatory requirements, we are also exploring the non-mandatory requirements that will aid access to global markets.
  
“In efforts to ensure the success of this Initiative, the Council engaged a reputable Certification expert, TopCertifier, based in Bangalore, India, to provide Certification Awareness training to our manufacturers and producers.
  
“The India-based company guides companies and organisations certification for ISO, CMMI, CE, FSMS and other international certifications and have successfully executed over 3,000 projects across 20 countries.”
  
The Managing Director of TopCertifier, Vinay Kumar, one of the facilitators, explained that the goal of the training is to assist exporters to improve their access to new and existing markets through capacity building on basic rudiments that will help them attain full certification for their products.


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