‘Access to MDAs will boost economy, facilitate agro production’
The incoming administration has been urged to initiate policies that would grant the agro sector direct access to relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Managing Director, Agro Merits Limited, Sampson Odipe, who made the call during the visit of the officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) officials in Lagos, said the step could encourage production and needed grants to enhance operations in the sector.
Odipe added that the proposed measure could turn the table, facilitate production and boost the nation’s economy.
The courtesy visit, which was part of the NAFDAC’s sensitisation campaign for agro farmers on the use of chemicals, pesticides and other issues affecting crops and livestock farming, was also used as a forum for key players in the sector to highlight several operational challenges facing them.
Odipe called on government at all levels, to make policies that will grow the economy and grant the agro sector direct access to the Ministry of Agriculture, especially when they have complaints.
The managing director, who said the company, was in good standing with NAFDAC, however, regretted that though, the agro sector is directly under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, there is no coordinating desk that is strictly responsible for the sector.
“We are known in Nigeria as one of the major players in the agro sector. There is no way any producer of feed can produce without working hand in hand with providers or suppliers of major raw materials.
“We have been doing that but the most important thing is that the agro sector is under the Ministry of Agriculture. We need direct access to the ministry. If we have challenges, we should be able to meet them without lobbying.
“As I said, it will be very helpful if the government and institutions directly working with the government could be in total control of the ports. That is the gateway. If that one is solved, I am telling you that this issue of agro-related problems will be mitigated.”
He insisted that taking care of the ports being in charge, ensuring effective communication and giving the stakeholders access to whoever is in charge in the Ministry of Agriculture, would solve over 90 per cent of the problems.
Earlier in her opening remark, Director, Veterinary and Allied Products, NAFDAC, Mrs Uche Sonny-Afoekelu, emphasised the need for feed safety as a necessity for food safety and human health.
Afoekelu said that feed safety is a necessity for animal health and welfare.
She elaborated that feed is an integral part of the food chain and its safety has been recognised as a shared value and responsibility for food production
She said NAFDAC was on a courtesy visit and fact-finding mission to know what the agro-based organisation is doing, adding that Agro Merits Limited was one of the agency’s customers and as a very responsible organisation, NAFDAC needs to partner with those who share in its vision and Agro merits is one of them.
“Agro merits comply with standards that make the products fit for use; so this is the confidence we have because whoever complies with existing regulations and guidelines will end up masking products that are fit for use,” she stated.
Also speaking, the Economic Counselor, Embassy of Hungary, Trade Office Lagos, Gyorgy Mocsy, said the country is trying to establish relationship with Hungarian and Nigerian companies.
While noting that the country has a small population of 10 million people, he said Hungary has developed its agricultural sector and recorded over $150b in export last year.
He said negotiations are already on top gear and by next month, the country will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NAFDAC, as part of moves to connect their country to the international markets as regards to the agro sector.