The Federal Government says it is working closely with relevant agencies towards ensuring that the European Union’s (EU’s) suspension of Nigeria’s dried beans exports is lifted in June.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, the Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
We are working towards the lifting of suspension. The suspension is supposed to end this year.
We have submitted series of reports to the European Union here.
“And we discussed with them. For us to travel to China for the meeting of pesticide is to let them know we are serious about resolving the relevant issues and to be able to carry out analysis for pesticides.
“So, we don’t have any issues with that; we are trying to put our house in order.’’
The EU’s suspension of Nigeria is expected to lapse in June.
Isegbe, who described the ban as a national embarrassment, said that relevant agencies of government were working closely to ensure that past mistakes were corrected before the deadline.
The country is expected to provide “substantial guarantees that adequate official control systems have been put in place to ensure compliance with food law requirements’’.
Isegbe explained that quarantine service officers were not contacted to test the batch of beans that failed to meet international standards leading to the suspension.
People want to do business with beans. There is a market for beans overseas, but weevils are destroying those beans and they need to protect those beans from weevils.
Ignorantly, they applied overdose of the chemicals and the countries of destination rejected them, because of fear that the beans will harm their people and they suspended us.
The beans left the border to European countries even when they did not pass through quarantine.
We are asking government to look at the issue holistically if we really have to do export business, we need to re organised how the business should be done.
“We have been talking to clearing agencies not to by pass quarantine. It does not make sense for any businessman to bypass quarantine and try to export.’’
The coordinating director further said that the service had started using radio and television jingles to educate members of the public and farmers on some of their activities.
Isegbe, who said people were exposed to a lot of diseases due to poor packing of food, advised farmers and traders to package their produce properly.
He emphasised the need for collaboration between regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to ensure quality control and acceptance of Nigerian agricultural exports in the international market. (NAN)