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Food Safety Concerns, Non-Adherence to Best Practices, Causing Rejection of Agro-Exports from Nigeria – Experts

Experts have said food safety concerns, technical barriers, non-adherence to best practices, and disregard for basic requirements are largely responsible for the rejection that agro-exports from Nigeria face abroad. Specifically, the Technical Committee on Nigeria Agro Export Reject recently inaugurated by the Ministry of Trade and Investment to investigate rejection of the country’s agro-exports in the international market stated this in its report. Recall that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo had, in May, set up a committee headed by the Director, Commodities and Export Department of the ministry, Mr. Suleiman Audu, to look into causes of rejection of Nigeria’s agro produce in the global market. However, the committee, who submitted its findings to the minister over the weekend, also suggested appropriate recommendations to reverse the ugly trend. The technical team urged the trade ministry to undertake sensitisation and awareness campaigns on the need for farmers and operators in the agricultural value chain to secure and adopt Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certifications in collaboration with the private sector. Also, in the report, the committee appealed to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and its trade counterpart, to provide a dedicated budget to fund the Global GAP training, traceability, and certification for farmers to enable their products qualify for exports, under the federal government initiative. According to the experts, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), in collaboration with the trade ministry’s Commodities and Export Department (CED) should produce documents, jingles, and offline promotional campaigns (prints, electronic, and billboards) in major Nigerian languages to enlighten stakeholders in the agricultural value chain on the need to be Global GAP certified, in order to produce safe and healthy agro produce and avoid rejections. On his part, the Minister of trade commended the members of the committee for the time and efforts invested to complete the assignment, maintaining that the implementation of the committee’s recommendations would increase agricultural commodities export activities and foreign exchange earnings for the country. Adebayo called for a synergy between relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and the private sector on the mission.

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