BY ONOME AMUGE
Adeniyi Adebayo, minister of industry, trade and investment, has inaugurated a committee charged with the responsibility of identifying and proffering appropriate recommendations against the major causes of worrisome rejection of Nigeria agro produce in the international market.
The committee, given six weeks within which to submit its report, consists of members from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, and is headed by Suleiman Audu, director, commodities and export department.
In his inauguration address, Adebayo admitted that in recent times, Nigeria agro products have been suffering from export rejection by many countries across Asia, Europe and America.
He complained that this has led to huge financial losses with its attendant negative impact on the supply value chain and job creation.
The minister, in a statement signed by Ifedayo Sayo, his special assistant on media, stressed that the international market is competitive and welcomes products of high quality with relevant certifications and quality packaging that is environmentally friendly.
He added that the federal government places a lot of emphasis on the promotion of non-oil commodity exports, which has led to farmers and product aggregators partnering to explore the export market for their products.
According to him, the problem of quality, standard, certification and appropriate packaging for made-in-Nigeria products for export has been a recurring issue, creating the need to set up the technical committee to address the issue and proffer appropriate recommendations.
Adebayo charged the committee to identify the major causes for the export rejection of Nigerian agro commodities; determine the roles played by exporters or institutional infractions that tend to promote export rejection of Nigerian agro commodities; and suggest measures necessary to strengthen the capacity of exporters to improve the quality, standard, certification, and packaging for made-in-Nigeria products for export.
The committee was also assigned to develop the policy framework for global gap certification and quality packaging that is environmentally friendly for global trade; suggest ways of getting government at all levels to support farmers to key into global gap certification for increased productivity and export; suggest appropriate model/partnership for development of standard storage facilities for products before arriving at their final destinations; and recommend means of strengthening assessment of export products by the appropriate and designated competent authorities.
Prior to the inauguration, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) disclosed that over 76 percent of the country’s commodities, including beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, dried fish, dried meat, groundnut, yam, among others, are often rejected by the European Union (EU) for not meeting required standards.
Vincent Isegbe, the director general of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), who also attested to the challenge, stated that Nigeria has lost an estimated $362.5 million annually in terms of foreign exchange to the ban on exportation of dried beans in the last eight years.