SON develops standards to boost food security

Chinazor Megbolu   |   
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said it was developing  standards for the animal and livestock feeds value chain in the country towards boosting food security.
The Director General, SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma disclosed this during a virtual meeting held in Lagos at the weekend.
He disclosed that the initiative is in a bid towards responding to the Federal Government’s efforts to boost food security in Nigeria. 
He also noted that the standards were also developed to counter the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic,  especially on key sector like; agriculture through its increased implementation of Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
Aboloma pointed out that the working group meeting on the development of six standards would boost Agribusiness in Nigeria.
He, however, maintained that the action is also part of an ongoing Livestock Micro Reforms in Agribusiness (L-MIRA) World Bank project on Cattle Feed Value Chain in partnership with the SON.
Aboloma, who was represented by Deputy Director/Head Food Group, SON, Dr. Omolara Okunlola,  averred that the standard development was achieved through a consensus of relevant parties and academics, who came together to elaborate standards for various sectors of the economy. 
He further stated that the efforts  was focused on the development of standards in the livestock sector and over the years.
“The Standards considered by the Work Group were borne out of an urgent demand and relevance of the Standards to the animal/ livestock feeds value chain with the work group specifically working on the following vital areas to boost agribusiness in the country,” he said.
Aboloma, again explained that the Standards for Salt Mineral Lick prescribes the specification for common salt as mineral licks for animal consumption ensures adequate proportioning as well as improving the adequate amount of minerals for effective productivity in animals.
He buttressed that other requirements specified was that of Blood Meal as an ingredient in Fish Meal production to ensure adequacy in meeting the protein requirements in fish farming.
Aboloma added that such feats would assist the feed manufacturers in compounding balance, protein ration and  guide  fish farmers in the selection of appropriate feed and feed ingredients.
” It will enhance meat and dairy in small ruminant production,  thereby contributing to the country’s gross domestic product in Agribusiness.
“While the elaboration of Standard for Small Ruminant Feed Premix was found necessary as small ruminants (sheep and goats) are increasingly becoming major sources of animal protein,  recently contributing over 30 per cent of total meat supply in the country.
“The standard is therefore to guide Premix manufacturers in compounding premixes for Small ruminant’s feed and also Feed millers’/ livestock farmers in deciding the kind of Premixes that suits a small ruminant’s requirement in enhancing sheep and goat production,” he said.
The Work Group also elaborated the Standards for Wheat Bran as a livestock feed because of its high demand  and nutritional value.
He added that its also cheap source of protein and high fibre content which enhances digestion process in animal and birds.
The SON chief executive further posited that the elaboration of the Standard is to serve as a guide for manufacturers of the product, to ensure quality retention.
“We know most crops are seasonal and needs to be cut, dried and conserved as pasture since there is large variability in the quality of forages, so measurement and prediction of feeding value and nutritive value are essential for high levels of production,” Aboloma said.

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