CALABAR — FOR many who thought that nothing good can come out of Niger Delta, the up-to-the-minute promotion/exhibition of products manufactured and packaged by some ingenous youths of the region at Calabar, capital of Cross River State is astonishing. Under the auspices of the Calabar Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises Summit, powered by Growth and Employment in States (GEMS4) in collaboration with Made in Nigeria (MiN) Global Consulting Services, the youths displayed items, including cooking burner (plate) that smolders with bio fuel from cocoa, melon, afang, okro and other varieties of soup packaged in ready to eat forms like noodles.
There was cocoa juice without sugar or preservatives, custard, soap, accessories made from waste clothing materials among others. Over time made in Nigeria goods have been perceived as second-rate due to packaging and branding, but a lot has changed in recent times following the intervention, financially and otherwise of local and international agencies.
What the young manufacturers need
In a chat with Niger Delta Voice, Manufacturers Associa-tion of Nigeria, MAN, Cross River/Akwa Ibom states branch, Elder Obong Jackson, argued that gone were the days when Made- in -Nigeria products were considered as sub- standard or not good enough .
Made in Nigeriaproducts
“All the items you see being exhibited here today are all sourced and made in Nigeria, the only thing we need, especially the Niger Delta region is some form of encouragement, either as loans and grants to enable such manufacturers expand their businesses,” Jackson said.
According to him, “Another challenge they are facing is the tedious and difficult process involved in registering most of the products with NAFDAC,SON as well being able to register company/products names, including getting patents to protect your invention. All these have become obstacles to so many entrepreneurs in the region.”
His words, “The procedures for registering most of the products and entry points should be reviewed because it has discouraged many young entrepreneurs from venturing into real production and manufacturing, we really appreciate what GMES4 and MiN Global are doing to help made in Nigeria products grow.”
My husband and I invented cooking burner- Mrs Agbor
Speaking with Niger Delta Voice, an inventor, Mrs. Ndifreke Agbor, revealed that the cooking burner she invented can cook for 14 hours, 30 minutes with a litre of bio fuel and burns better than gas.
She said, “What you are looking is completely the creation of me and my husband, we are trying to get the patent before we start mass production. As you can see, it has passed the entire test and is certified. Immediately we get the patent, it will enter the market, most of our inventions are cocoa- based, and we make soaps, custard, and fruit juice and so on.”
Thanks to GMES4 and MiN Global
Another entrepreneur, Mr. Kufre Emmanuel, “Words alone cannot explain how we feel today, because majority of the people that consume our products are Nigerians, who live in the Diaspora ,so you can imagine what this platform will do for us, anywhere they are, all they need do is just to order.” He also disclosed that the platform has eliminated many hurdles and made it easier to do business, both in and outside the country without stress.
Emmanuel, however, bemoaned how difficult it is to get NAFDAC approval for a product, but also commended the agency for helping producers to maintain standards, while appealing for a review of the procedure, especially at entry point. “We have varieties of packaged soup, and we have to register all of them differently according to NAFDAC standard and it will cost of lot of money but we are glad that the platform created by MiN consult has eliminated the middle man and it will do all of marketing too,” he added.
We mean well- NAFDAC coordinator
Cross-River state NAFDAC coordinator, Mr. Isaiah Kolawole, explained, “The way our operations are designed is not to be an obstacle to anyone, but protecting the health of the nation is very paramount to us. We also need manufactures to understand that the right things must be done at all times, they should also avoid cutting corners because it endangers the health of the public.”