By Hassan Zaggi
Nigerians have been advised to be cautious of the kind of foods they eat, as most health complications always start from the type of foods that enter ones body.
The Executive Director, Rhabe Ventures Limited, an indigenous food processing firm, Mrs. Abimbola Alawode, gave the advice when a delegation of journalists visited her firm in Lagos.
The journalists visited the food processing company to assess the level of technical support given by the European Union (EU) funded National Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP) implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for Nigerian firms to imbibe quality standards in food processing to facilitate export.
The journalists who were drawn from both print, electronic and new media, were in Lagos for a 3-day media capacity building for the sustainability of the NQIP in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Nigerian foods including beans and yams have been rejected severally by other countries for not meeting the international quality standard.
Alawode further noted that considering the challenges confronting Nigeria’s health system, Nigerians must always insist on taking qualitative and indigenous foods to avoid health complications.
“The health of Nigerians is fast deteriorating. This is partly due to insufficient investment the government has made in the health sector, therefore we must take care of what we eat because that is where most health issues come from.
“There is the issue of rejection of our products by other countries. This is because they want to protect the health of their people, what about us?
charged Nigerians to patronize indigenous foods processed in locally. This, she noted, will guarantee the health of the people and also improve the economy.
She, therefore, called on governments at all levels to support small indigenous business with soft loans to enable them succeed.
Speaking earlier on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment, a UNIDO Consultant, Stephen Cross, noted that the importance of accreditation of production system cannot be overemphasized as far the export of products is concerned.
He noted that: “At the current time, Nigerian products can be held up at export or even passed over for by foreign buyers because the Nigerian exporters cannot produce internationally recognized certificates of testing or certification since Nigeria does not have a recognized accreditation system
“Domestically, the loss of lives, injuries, diseases, work related disabilities and nuisance issues caused by products and services that do not meet standards can be reduced when an accreditation system is fully functional and utilized.”
Commenting on the benefits of accreditation of systems to consumers, Cross said: “Accreditation to international standards means living up to the highest standards. Any quality issues will be usually detected before the goods and services reach the market, hence protecting the health and safety of the consumers.”