National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says `Nsukka pepper’, a popular local pepper spice, has pushed Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) seasoning registration in South-East.

Mr Venatius Ihekire, NAFDAC’s Assistant Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday.

NAN reports that yellowish or orange-coloured pepper mostly grown in Nsukka, Enugu State, adds flavour to both local and national delicacies especially stew and soup.

Many cuisines that prepare grilled meat and fish in South-East cannot do without the strong aroma of Nsukka pepper.

It can also be ideal for food garnishing in restaurants and hotels, which gives food shade of colours that makes it irresistible to the eyes.

Ihekire said that within the past 12 months, the agency in the zone had registered at least nine seasoning MSME products that had to do with either dry or fresh Nsukka pepper spices.

According to him, five MSME seasoning products containing Nsukka pepper from Abia have been registered; three registered from Enugu State (from Nsukka axis of the state) and one more registration from Imo State.

“They actually do not call it Nsukka-pepper like that during their registration, but it comes in form of spices and seasonings we are talking about.

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“However, we know that these things have a nearby place where they get them in large quantities and at times most of them will even open up and tell you that this registered product is from Nsukka pepper.

“We encourage their spirit of enterprise and NAFDAC is very happy about the development.

“This is the intention of the Federal Government meant in turning our local produce to an international market.

“This shows that the Federal Government is interest on the real things concerning economic growth; employment generation and about foreign exchange earnings.

“Some of these spices are sent abroad by these MSMEs. You might not know.

“Most of them export these spices and seasonings and then bring in foreign earnings, which boost our economy,’’ he said.

The director said that NAFDAC was very eager and diligent to see that these products especially farm produce are registered and certified to meet international standard and market to enhance the general economy and well being of Nigerians.

NAN reports that before the Federal Government came with the Ease of Doing Business Initiative, which NAFDAC is a lead implementing agency, no single spice or seasoning product was registered in the South-East.