THE Ebonyi Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) will collaborate to enforce standard measurement usage for food items in the state.
Chief Ikechukwu Nwobo, state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, made this known on Wednesday in Abakaliki during a sensitisation meeting with the public comprising mostly traders on the usage of standard measurement.
Nwobo said that the government was determined to stop the shortchanging of food consumers by traders who use sub standard measurements in the markets.
“I recently visited five different rice mills using an undercover mechanism and discovered several irregularities by rice sellers occasioned by the usage of sub- standard measurements.
“In one of the sales outlets, I offered to buy 200 bags of rice for supply and the seller out of excitement, went inside her shop and brought a measurement-instrument which she claimed was the original.
“I also went to several sales outlets in the hinterlands and when I demanded for the original measurement in one of them, the seller said I should negotiate with their chairman.
“This is high-level conspiracy and domestic-economic sabotage against the citizens and the government will henceforth punish perpetrators,” he said.
The commissioner remarked that enforcement of the ban of sub standard measurement usage would commence in a fortnight in the state after adequate enlightenment of the traders.
“Organisations such as IFAD-VCDP will apart from the enforcement, assist in providing the standard measurement for traders to eliminate excuses for using substandard ones.
“This is a part of the advocacy that we are promoting and the standard measurement can be distributed to traders freely because it is a humanitarian venture.
“We will sponsor a bill to the state House of Assembly on the ban of such sub-standard measurements to give a legal backing for prosecution of offenders,” he said.
Dr Ameh Onoja, IFAD-VCDP National Programme Coordinator (NPC), urged the participants to spread the message of using standard measurements to their farmer associations, cooperative societies among others.
Onoja represented by Mr Chika Unamma, IFAD-VCDP Agricultural Production Advisor, noted that the era of using tin-cups, bushels among other instruments, in the country was gone.
“The Ebonyi rice world produce displayed here for instance have addresses, phone contacts among others and this shows that the produce was packaged with standard measurement,” he said.
Mr Sunday Ituma, IFAD-VCDP State Programme Coordinator (SPC), said that his office had conducted series of enlightenment programmes, especially at the Abakaliki rice mill on standard measurements usage.
“We distributed several weights-instruments to the rice millers to commence standard measurement usage while conducting interactive meetings with policy-makers, stakeholders among others,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that messages of support were given by representatives of the state ministries of commerce and industry, women affairs and child development among others.
Consultants also offered tutorials on the intricacies of using standard measurements especially existing laws against the usage of sub-standard measurements in the country.
– July 11, 2018 @ 17:55 GMT |