Before 1917, when the known export commodities were Palm Kernel, Palm Oil and Cocoa, quality control was clearly absent. The lack of control was largely due to the fact that there were no prescribed standards and grades to follow. In the absence of organized farming and inspection, the commodities were sold at giveaway prices resulting in huge financial losses. These heavy losses compelled the government to make the department of Customs and Excise take over the responsibility of control of produce inspection for export in 1917. To be more effective, in the control duties, a special produce inspection section was created under the Department of Agriculture in 1926. This new set up provided grades and standards for each produce and these became operative first in the then Western Region. The control measures so far introduced did not go down well with the producers who then started some share practices like adulteration of graded produce. To meet this challenge government introduced measures, through special training of produce inspectors to apply security-sealing devices for graded produce, The result of this special training was very encouraging and as a follow up.
In 1928, the services were extended to the Eastern Region in the same year Palm Kernel impurity limits were pegged at 5% in Eastern Region as against 4% in the Western Region. Two separate commissions in 1931 and 1936 favorably reported that produce inspection service be made a integral part of export trade in Nigeria. Consequently in 1936, inspection of groundnuts was introduced in Northern Region. The whole exercise led to the creation in 1945, of the Office of Chief Inspector of Produce who would be responsible to the Director of Agriculture. After being with the Department of Marketing and Export for three years, produce inspection Board was created in 1950. This was empowered to make laws and Regulation for produce inspection throughout Nigeria. The discriminatory Palm Kernel standards in East and Western Region were normalized.
This resulted in tremendous improvement in the quality standards of export produce. With this hearth warming achievement, regionalized of produce inspection service was introduce in October, 1954 to enforce the quality standards and grades of produce for export.