The Federal Government expresses hope over lifting ban on agricultural commodities by the European Union, EU, Unites States of America, and others.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, made the statement based on the current effort by the Standing Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee, SIMTC, on Agro Zero Reject Initiative, to ensure Nigerian agricultural commodities accepted at the international market.
Abubakar, after being briefed by the SIMTC said Nigeria’s potential on agricultural commodities export is huge, therefore the Integrated Export Control Plan for Nigeria, IECP, should be put together meticulously.
It would be recalled that in 2015, the EU banned importation of Nigerian beans on account of containing high level of pesticide, considered harmful to health despite warnings from the EU.
He said: “There is no doubt that Nigeria cannot realize its potential unless we do the right thing; work together first of all, and also realise and understand dealing with other agencies, private sector, government across the world.
“It not an easy task doing export business, there are a lot of regulations, and unless you start by putting your own home well you will not be able to work outside.
“if we want to make headway we must come down and learn to work with one another, and that really needs to be done to achieve success.
“It is not about trading but getting Nigeria out of being ban from Europe, America, and other countries.
“We should have seamless export transaction. We will do what it takes to do the right thing.”
Meanwhile, the Minister commended the inter-ministerial Committee for working hard to put the document together.
He also lauded development partners to ensure the document is put together whereby it would lift ban on Nigeria’s agricultural commodities export.
Earlier, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, FDA, Abdullahi Abubakar, represented by the Director, Tree Crops, FDA, Bernard Ukatteh, said the essence of the SIMTC, which was inaugurated 28th February 2021, whose mandate is to ensure that ban by the EU on export of Nigerian beans is lifted and that “Nigeria never, again, suffer any reject of our agro commodities in the export market.”
Abubakar also made it known that, “Before the ban, several unheeded notifications were sent to Nigerian authorities.
“To lift the ban, EU wanted Nigeria to control her export and provide substantial evidence that the necessary food safety requirements and protocols are put in place.”
According to him, the IECP is a 5-year action plan, and this is to provide substantive guarantee required by EU that the SPS bodies in Nigeria put Food Safety protocols in place in line with the International Standard.
In making sure Nigeria got it right, he also made it known that technical support was received from USAID which two experts carried out food safety and inspection protocol analysis in all SPS bodies in 2021.
He added, “Few private companies have agreed to key into the implementation of the pilot Action Plan that would get the ban on our beans lifted and pave way for admitting Nigeria produce for export.”