Farmers, exporters bemoan rejection of farm produce at international market

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NNEKA NWOGWUGWU, ABUJA

Farmers and exporters have blamed poor capacity of production companies as one of the challenges of exporting Nigeria’s agriculture products to other countries.

The farmers and exporters in separate interviews with The Sunday Times, however, explained possible reasons for the rejection of the international market.

The National Publicity Secretary for the National Ginger Association of Nigeria, Gagarin Madaki, said that the poor capacity of local production affects quality packaging of products that will meet international standards.

According to him, essentially, the problem is the capacity of our local packaging Companies to produce good quality packaging materials to meet international standards.

“The very few who can do it, do it at prohibitive cost.”

Madaki, who is also an exporter of ginger to Europe, India and China, said that cows are mostly rejected. “A lot of cows are mostly rejected but if the exporter follows a strict quality control process, their products are exempted from rejection.

‘‘We have a few of such companies available in Nigeria that conduct strict quality control process”, he said.

While explaining reasons for rejection of agric products, Madaki said, “Usually, it is a result of high microbial contamination caused from poor post-harvest handling and high mycotoxins mist due to poor storage and handling.”

Speaking on why manufacturers adopt foreign labels on Nigerian products, he said, “The quality of local production most times give a ‘Dull image.’

“The reality is that dull images wither quality of paper and printing, meanwhile poor branding reflects in the mind of any customer anywhere as a low-quality product.”

However, the National Secretary of the National Potato Growers, Processors and Marketing Association of Nigeria (NAPOGPMAN), Dr Austine Maduka said that agric products are not rejected for exports.

Maduka explained that Nigeria’s Agric products are not rejected for exports but they are usually not marketable globally.

He said, “We are not mostly rejected, but our goods are not marketable globally as a result of storage, poor packaging, use of aflatoxin and lack of political will.

“But we have the challenges of competition, as the cost of production is high here.”

He also added that most local manufacturers use foreign labels because made in Nigeria goods are seen as poison as a result of some manufacturers’ carelessness and unprofessional attitude on their production approach.

Meanwhile, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) had listed transportation, storage facilities, and packaging and warehouse conditions as some of the challenges that lead to the rejection of the country’s agricultural exports to other countries.

SON Director-General, Osita Aboloma, who spoke at a Northcentral regional stakeholders workshop had said that there is a need to imbibe best practices.

He said that distance, for example, from Nigeria to Europe could affect the quality and standard of the agric product when it gets to foreign country.

“Standard is part of the security apparatus for the country. You use it to control and defend your populace from danger and risks products coming into your country. One per cent leakage can cause a chain of negative effect on the consumers and entire populace.

That’s why some countries reject our products especially when their regulations find the products faulty due to handling and transportation.

“If you have a quality product in Kwara State, before you move it for export using sea or air transportation, storage facility, warehouse or lack of knowledge on recommended pesticide or herbicide and its limit, or duration to use them can make our products get rejected. And every country has that first principle or policy to protect its citizens”, he had said.

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