The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) said it has intensified its efforts to test and certify raw agro and mineral materials in Nigeria.
This initiative aims to address the persistent rejection of the country’s natural resources and improve their value for industrial use. The move is part of the growing push by the federal government to enhance the use of Nigerian raw materials through research and development for industrial production and export with value added.
The director and head of corporate communications at RMRDC, Chuks Ngaha revealed the council’s efforts during a recent tour of its plants, laboratory, RMRDC Resource and Information Centre and several pilot plants in Abuja.
Ngaha emphasised that these efforts are essential to increase revenue generation and foreign exchange earnings. He added that the council’s focus on looking inwards has yielded positive results and the products available for use attest to that.
Furthermore, the assistant director and head of the pharmaceutical division at RMRDC, Fortune Alabi explained that the laboratory is certified by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). This certification ensures that the management system, manufacturing process, service or documentation procedure meets all requirements for standardisation and quality assurance. ISO is an independent, non-governmental, international organisation that develops standards to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of products, services and systems.
Alabi noted that the laboratory was established as part of the council’s new, additional mandate, which includes the establishment of laboratories in line with its New Act 28 of 2022 to test locally sourced materials in the country. She stressed that the laboratory’s certification allows it to test locally sourced raw materials and issue certification that attests to their quality. This initiative helps to reduce the rejection of exported raw materials due to poor quality, which often leads to embarrassment for the country.
The deputy director of the engineering, design and development division and a technical assistant in the director-general’s office, Etuosochukwu Obassi emphasised that the quality of products depends on the quality of raw materials. Nigeria can generate more revenue by adding more value to its exports. He noted that the council is boosting the capacity of industrial agro-raw materials by developing improved and disease-resistant varieties and domesticating a variety of industrial raw materials. Obassi added that the council has achieved some success in the development of phytomedicine.
The council’s achievements also include the development, domestication and release of a variety of raw materials such as over five varieties of sweet sorghum, improved varieties of sesame, three varieties of castor, sugar beet, among others. Obassi disclosed that the council has researched how to process and add value to some materials.
“For example,” he said “the council is using a kennel shell to develop brake pads, which are better than the carcinogenic asbestos used in brakes. The brake pads have even been tested in the United States and found to be superior”.
Obassi urged manufacturers, processors and users of raw materials to bring their products for testing to ensure they meet the user industries’ specifications. He reiterated the importance of adding value to raw materials, as exporting them raw short-changes Nigeria. Adding value involves knowing what is inside the raw material and developing ways to improve it.
In conclusion, RMRDC’s efforts to test and certify Nigerian raw agro and mineral materials are commendable. The initiative aims to enhance the country’s economic growth by generating more revenue and foreign exchange earnings. Moreover, the establishment of the laboratory and certification by ISO is a positive development that boosts the confidence of manufacturers, processors, and users of raw materials in the country. It is essential to continue investing in research and development to improve the quality of raw materials and add value.