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IFAD–VCDP urges rice, casasava processors in Ebonyi to adopt high processing standards

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By Chukwuemeka Opara

Abakaliki, Aug. 10, 2019 (ÑAN)  International  Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has urged rice and cassava processors in Ebonyi to adopt high processing standards.

Mr Sunday Ituma, IFAD–VCDP State Project Coordinator (SPC), said this on Saturday in Abakaliki, during a sensitisation training on hygiene, food safety and environmental sanitation, organised for operators of three processing centres.

The centre’s are two for rice and one for cassava.

Ituma said  the move would assist them meet standard requirements of regulatory agencies such as the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) among others.

“The processing centres include the Abakaliki Rice Mill and Omege Rice Mill in Ikwo LGA as well as the Ofunneka Cassava processing centre in Afikpo South Local Government Area.

“IFAD–VCDP identifies that personal hygiene, environmental cleanliness and safety are the key components that the regulatory authorities require to certify processing outfits.

“We, therefore, organised the training to make  processors be abreast of these regulations, to get adequate specifications for the produce they will showcase to the public,” he said.

The SPC noted that the programme discovered that the production standard of  processors was low which limited their income generation capacity.

“We would, therefore, enlighten them to overcome local standards, meet  internationally set-ones to get NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies’ specifications.”

He noted that the processors would soon take ownership of  processing mills as they had been trained on operations and maintenance of the machines.

“The rice iill in Iboko, Izzi LGA for instance will be operated under the auspices of the Abakaliki rice mill and they will however, sign a Memorandum of Understating (MOU) with us.

“This will specify the roles and responsibilities of all parties and they may not operate the mills directly but lease to people who are willing,” he said.

Mrs Fransisca Anya, the IFAD–VCDP Rural Institution Gender Youth  Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO) in the state noted that quality was important to the image of every organisation and such necessitated the training.

“The processors have also been trained on how to generate work plans which they have submitted to the IFAD-VCD office and this will enable us to know those who are practicing what they have been taught.

Mr James Onoh, a processor with the Abakaliki rice mill, thanked IFAD-VCDP for the programme and stated that they had learnt how to keep their processing centres clean and package their produce with high standard.

Nigeria News Agency reports that a representative of NAFDAC and officials of IFAD-VCDP Ebonyi office offered tutorials to processors on general hygiene and safety practices.

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