Sustainable Cocoa Production : SON, stakeholders meet to adopt global standards
Concerned about the sustainable production of cocoa and its products, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and stakeholders in the Cocoa sector recently reviewed the National Industrial Standards (NIS) 990:2017 during a Technical Committee meeting held at the agency’s Ogba laboratory complex, Lagos.
The Director-General Mallam Farouk A. Salim in his remarks at the meeting disclosed that there has been an urgent need to review Cocoa standards for sustainable cocoa production by enshrining minimum requirements in the National standards for cocoa in line with international best practices and to enhance global competitiveness.
Mallam Farouk Salim represented by the Group Head Food Technology, Dr Mrs Omolara Okunlola, reiterated the need for the sustainability of cocoa production which is a major concern as cocoa is mostly grown on small-scale farms in regions of the world that lack adequate infrastructure and offer poor working conditions to farmers.
According to Salim, the importance of cocoa in the global economy cannot be understated, that is why the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and African Regional Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), which SON is a member collaborated with representatives from cocoa-producing and consuming countries to develop a new series of standards to address longstanding issues in the industry.
The SON helmsman stated that the Technical Committee (TC) meeting will harness the knowledge on Cocoa production in Nigeria and the international experience captured in the ISO Standards through participation in regional and global standardization activities to boost the nation’s economy.
Salim also revealed that the cocoa standard remains pertinent for the industry as it is expected to improve the quality of local cocoa production and its acceptance in the global market leading to an alternative source of revenue to oil and gas, in fulfilment of the Federal Government’s economic diversification agenda”.
Salim, therefore, called for the TC to consider the adoption of the ISO 34101 standards on Cocoa as it aims to encourage the professionalization of cocoa farming, thus contributing to farmer’s livelihood and better working conditions,
According to the DG, the standards cover the organizational, economic, social and environmental aspects of cocoa farming, as well as featuring strict requirements for traceability, offering greater clarity about the sustainability of the cocoa that is used”.
The SON Chief Executive thereafter thanked all the participants for taking out time to attend the TC meeting, while commiserating with the members on the demise of the former chairperson of the TC, Dr S.O Aroyeoun of the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN) and others who lost their lives during the pandemic.
The new Chairperson of the Technical Committee, Mrs. C. O. Jayeola in her remarks noted that Nigeria must not be left behind when it comes to the standardization of Cocoa; “it is time to improve on the quality and traceability of this product as this will ensure better codes of practice and better quality products,” she said.
In attendance at the meeting, were representatives from Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, NAFDAC, Rightway Business Support, Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry (FMTI), Nestle Nigeria Plc, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC), Promasidor, Mutiu Ola, Cadbury, Institute of Professional Analyst of Nigeria (IPAN), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) and representatives from SON facilitating the secretariat.