religious violence in Nigeria

By Victoria Ojeme

The Nigerian government has welcomed the Report of a Technical Committee that was set up to address increasing rejection of agriculture exports from the country.

Earlier, the Shippers Association of Lagos (SALS) had told news agents 82 per cent of the country’s agro-allied products are either seized or rejected by EU countries because they are illegally exported without certification of government agencies.

But in May this year, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo inaugurated a committee to look into the issue.

The committee had members from the ministry and some parastatals of the ministry, Ministry of Agriculture and select members of the private sector, and is charged with the responsibility of identifying the major causes of the rejection of the agro produce and proffer appropriate recommendations.

At the end of their work, the committee submitted a report to the Minister, Niyi Adebayo, today in Abuja.

The Committee noted major concerns such as food safety, technical barriers, non-adherence to best practices and disregard to basic requirements as largely responsible for the rejection of our agro-exports abroad.

Presenting the recommendations to the Minister, the Chairman of the Committee and Director, Commodities and Export Department of the Ministry, Suleman Audu said that the government should embark on a sensitization and awareness program on the need for farmers and operators in the agricultural value chain, to secure and adopt Global GAP certifications in collaboration with the Private Sector.

He said the Committee also recommended that the Ministries of Trade and Agriculture should have a dedicated budget to fund the Global GAP training, traceability and certification of all their farmers, to enable their products qualify for exports, under the Federal Government initiative.

The private sector, he stated, should be enabled by the Federal Government, to develop QR Code Traceability Card for the registration of all the operators and their agricultural commodities, in order to enhance transparency, traceability and engender visibility and acceptability for exportable agro commodities.

According to him, both Agriculture and Trade Ministries should collaborate with Research Institutes, to scale up Research and Development (R&D) activities for the improvement of produce, products, packaging and labelling requirements.

He added that all relevant regulatory authorities in the agro-export value chain should commence the process of automating their processes and procedures; synchronize them with the APUs, in order to curb infractions and ensure that only quality and certified products are exported.

Audu stated further that the FMITI and FMARD, should work with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders, to carry out quarterly awareness and sensitization campaigns, on step-by-step procedures to ensure zero agro export rejects.

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