By abiodunbalo • 8th Feb 2019 • 402 views • 59 comments


Dr Vincent Isegbe

ABUJA – Dr. Vincent Isegbe, Director General of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), has identified quality defects and inability of some Nigerian exporters of agricultural produce to meet the relevant sanitary and phytosanitary requirements applicable in the destination countries as some of the reasons for the rejection of local farm produce in foreign markets.

Addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, Isegbe explained that many countries prohibit the import of produce with mycotoxin contamination, high pesticide residue, microbial contamination, sloppy packaging and labeling, saying that Nigeria loses huge revenue, servicing narrow export market options.

To this end, he vowed to put a stop to the rejection of agricultural produce and ensure that Nigeria regains her pride of place in the international market.

“It is our goal to make Nigerian agricultural produce acceptable everywhere in the world. That way, we will earn more foreign exchange from more destination countries.”

“As the agency tasked with the promotion of export of agricultural produce, NAQS is leading the government’s drive to stem the tide of the rejection of some Nigerian agricultural produce in foreign markets due to quality defects.

“Given the need to empower farmers, off-takers and exporters to comply with the standards of the export market, the agency is implementing a programme of backward integration for better export products,” he said.

Isegbe said that the intervention codenamed ‘’Export Improvement Initiative” was tailored to ensure that all relevant activities performed from the fields where the prospective export crops are cultivated up to the point of shipment are consistent with the standard conditions and protocols.

“As part of this measure, NAQS has been interfacing with stakeholders to educate and train them on export quality criteria for agricultural produce,” he said.

Isegbe expressed joy that its enlightenment workshops and campaigns to sensitise stakeholders on Global Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and the formation of self-regulating associations among the different commodity producer constituencies were yielding fruits.

He noted that by the strategy, NAQS has been addressing the fundamental inhibitors of agricultural export and widening the scope for participation of every Nigerian in the export business.

He said, “I am glad to report that NAQS efforts in mainstreaming best practices are yielding great rewards.

“Due to increased knowledge and adaptation to guidelines, Nigeria was able to export 1,983 containers of Hibiscus to Mexico, within the first nine months of 2017.

“The country earned $35 million US dollars in the same period.

“Our mission is to catalyse the harnessing of the export potentials of Nigerian agricultural resources.

“We recently conducted a crop pest survey on pigeon pea, sorghum and groundnut. The result of our pigeon pea survey has paved a way for Nigeria to penetrate the $100 billion worth pigeon pea market in India.

“In the same vein, our crop pest survey on sorghum has opened the door for Nigeria to export forage sorghum to China.

“A local company is expected to ship out the first batch of its consignment in the first quarter of this year.”

The newly appointed Director General of NAQS, the Agency was working assiduously to expand the export frontiers.

“In addition to the traditional agro-export items, we have identified under-utilised but high premium emerging agro-commodities such as sesame, soya bean, cinnamon, pigeon pea, sugar cane, honey and snail that will revolutionise Nigeria’s non-oil export business as we know it.

“In the next couple of weeks, NAQS will launch ‘’Export Certification Value Chain (ECVC)’’ for Onions, Garlic, Honey, Cow horns/hooves, Sunflower, Nsukka Yellow Pepper, Sesame, Gum Arabic and Tumeric.

“We will provide details the export eligibility standards for the respective items and outlines the actionable instructions that stakeholders have to adhere to for their produce to pass NAQS inspection and certification tests which are preconditions for issuance of the phytosanitary certificate (export permit),” he assured.

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