May 11, 2016
Towards Nigeria's goal of self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018, in addition to cultivating satisfactory quantity of paddy, it is important that Nigerian farmers produce quality paddy, products which can compete against foreign imported rice. The drafting of a paddy grading standard by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), would contribute to improving the quality of paddy from the country. Creating an enabling environment is crucial for proper implementation of this standard. In collaboration with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has conducted various activities.
Firstly, in order to provide stakeholders with correct information on these standards, a consultant was dispatched to several states to conduct small workshops.
Secondly, we convened a meeting for technical staff of mills to harmonize the standards of their mills in line with SON and standardize their grading methods with those described in the paddy grading manual developed by FMARD/JICA.
Thirdly, we developed farmer friendly paddy quality checking methods (Manual on paddy quality checking Ver. 1).
To consolidate on gains and feedback comments from the technical meeting on the draft SON standard to finalise the paddy grading manual, paddy quality field checking manual and to discuss possible contributions by stakeholders for the implementation of the SON standard, a stakeholder workshop was jointly convened by JICA and FMARD on the 8th March, 2016, which was attended by the representatives of the Director of Agribusiness and Marketing Department (FMARD), Director of Food and Strategic Reserve department (FMARD) and Director of the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FMARD), Head of Food and Codex Department (SON) representatives of rice farmers, paddy traders, rice millers and a rapporteur from the technical meeting.
At the workshop feedback on the SON standard were consolidated and both manuals were finalized, possible actions by all stakeholders for prompt implementation of SON standard were also identified.