Nigeria and other developing countries have a weak food system which has underdeveloped the agricultural sector over the years. Aside from that, policies regarding food safety have been poorly implemented resulting to rising concern of food safety in the country, and has pushed many of the consumers (especially the health-conscious group) back to the reality of increasing food borne diseases as a result of consumption of unsafe food, in which many had experience in the past; from mild to severe cases. Sadly, it is pretty difficult to identify unsafe food by its physical characteristics, coupled with food scarcity due to the rising cost of inputs and political instability, thus there is a need for strict measures to be put in place to be able to identify safe food.

Therefore, there is a need for local certification that is aimed at verifying the safety of food being produced at both the farm and distribution level. This is with the aim to safeguard the consumers from purchasing unwholesome food, which is littered in our local market and consumed indiscriminately. This would give consumers more choices in purchasing food (certified or uncertified food). As much as this is a good move to reduce the consumption of unsafe food, it is important that adequate sensitisation and awareness is carried out to ensure that health-conscious consumers are well informed of the importance of the food safety certification, the specific identification tags for such food and the measures put in place to ensure continuous verification system to avoid compromise at any point along the distribution channel.

Furthermore, it is suggested that such food safety certification should be demand-driven and be led by the private sector, with the buy-in of the government at the different levels for proper monitoring and continuous assurance. Also, such a system should adopt the third party system of certification to ensure strict compliance to the food safety requirements and also re-assurance to the public. Therefore, it is important that all stakeholders should work together to make this a reality as a similar system has been developed in other developing countries (like Ghana, Kenya etc) and we need to build and learn from these countries. To wrap up, I know many questions have been generated by this suggestion, and one of these is how many consumers would be willing to pay for the certified food, knowing fully well that affordability would be under threat?