The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has revealed that the three-year long European Union’s ban on some Nigeria’s agriculture produce may be lifted before the end of 2018 as the service has been working with relevant government authorities to prevail on the union for a lift, Vincent Isegbe, the coordinating director, NAQS, has hinted in a report seen by business a.m.
The EU in June 2015 proscribed the export into Europe of certain food items such as beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, fried fish, meat, and peanut chips among others until June 2016. It, however, extended the ban to three years in 2016 following the interception of two containers of Nigerian goods which were yet to be cleared during the suspension.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the rejected beans were found to contain between 0.03 milligramme per kilogramme to 4.6 milligramme per kilogramme of dichlorvos pesticide, whereas, the standard maximum residue limit is 0.01 milligramme per kilogramme.
Isegbe said NAQS has engaged various stakeholders, suppliers, producers and exporters on how to unbar the country’s agricultural produce in the international markets.
‘‘We had a meeting with forwarding and clearing agents in Lagos last month during which we involved critical stakeholders along the value chain to make them see reason that we have to collaborate. If the quarantine does its certification and other value chain have to collaborate to give good result; we believe that any mistake is a collective failure. These are the linkage we are trying to strengthen to ensure everything is put in perfect place. The EU is monitoring and watching what we are doing and we will approach them to lift the ban,’’ he said.
He added that NAQS will soon conclude with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council on the inspection of containers, pointing out that no matter the number of times the commodities are inspected, infection in the containers would still contaminate the produce.
The three-year ban will expire by 2019 except the Union accedes to the service’ plea on lifting.