January 6, 2016
As domestic rice consumers are becoming quality conscious, and Federal Government of Nigeria is trying to replace foreign rice with domestic production, it is imperative to improve the quality of paddy as well as parboiled milled rice in Nigeria. Some initiatives have been taken for the improvement, one of which was drafting of a paddy grading standard by Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).
Since SON standard is mandatory, upon it becomes effective, all stakeholders should follow it. Still issues remain, first of all, stakeholders do not know well about this standard. Secondly, some standards used by stakeholders such as Integrated Rice Millers (IRMs) seem to contradict with the SON draft standard. Thirdly, there is no plan for standardizing grading methods. If no standard grading methods, each stakeholder will grade paddy with different interpretations. In order to solve these issues, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have conducted several activities on paddy grading standard.
To increase awareness of the SON draft standard and grading manual and to discuss possible harmonization of grading standard and standardization of grading methods, JICA in collaboration with the FMARD organised a workshop on paddy grading standard on 8th December, 2015.
In attendance were the Director, Food and Strategic Grain Reserve Department (FMARD), Deputy Director, Agribusiness and Marketing Department (FMARD), Head Food and Codex Department (SON), representatives from a paddy trading company, Integrated Rice Mills (IRMs), Rice Farmers Association (RIFAN) and development partners.
In the workshop, SON draft standard was reviewed and the harmonization of grading standard discussed, the paddy grading manual was also reviewed and standardization of the grading methods was discussed. In general, contents of manual were accepted by the participants and ways for better implementation of the grading standard were identified.