Capacity Building in Strengthening Product Testing Laboratories, Nigeria
Posted on: June 16, 2016
Agriculture and its associated value chains have been identified as a significant opportunity to spur Nigeria’s economic growth, employment and reduce the country’s reliance on oil exports. This project focussed specifically on how the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) can support this national objective. Rather than focussing on controlling the entry of sub-standard goods into Nigeria, the focus has been shifted towards assisting industries to deliver products that comply with international performance and safety standards. In pursuit of this aim, the TBT Programme-funded project focussed on assisting SON to revise its approach to standards development by involving stakeholders in the development of more relevant standards; developing guides to assist suppliers to deliver products that conform to international standards and expectations, and supporting the improvement in testing capacity to provide assurance needed to access competitive international markets.
As a result of this project, SON’s capacity to manage these different issues was enhanced along with an increase in Nigeria’s trade competitiveness. The project also improved SON’s staff capacity to deliver improved service to the business community.
Since the beginning of 2016, this project has delivered a number of tangible results: the standards development staff received training; codes of practice and implementation guidance were developed to support five key agricultural industries; laboratories were assisted and lab personnel trained. SON’s management recognised for its willingness to embrace this slate of remedial measures with the results being well received at all levels with SON as well as by affected industries
Work still needs to be done in Nigeria to reform the Standards and Quality infrastructure but the project has made a start in developing a quality culture in the country, with all players realising that quality is the responsibility of everyone in the value chain, from the farmers, to the harvesters, to the handlers, transporters and processors and no longer something that can be left to inspector to check. The project has had a big impact on the quality and in the agro processing sectors in Nigeria and has been the catalyst for future work in the field, also mentioned by the SON itself showing its great satisfaction on the results achieved.