Hibiscus Flower Export Ban: Nigeria, Mexico Renew Economic Ties After 3 Years
Three years after Mexico banned hibiscus flower exports from Nigeria due to compliance issues, the Federal Government has said it is renewing economic ties with the country. Specifically, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, made this known on Thursday when he received a delegation led by the new Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfredo Miranda. The minister, who regretted Nigeria’s suspension from exporting hibiscus flowers, said his ministry would work closely with off-takers and exporters through the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to facilitate building of chambers dedicated to methyl bromide fumigation of hibiscus. He said, “it is regrettable that the suspension of hibiscus trade lasted for nearly three years longer than it should and resulted in a slowdown of the momentum of export activities around hibiscus.” According to him, the period was used to decisively overcome the proximate cause of the export suspension, assuring that days of khapra beetle infestation of hibiscus consignments are behind us. Also, Abubakar lauded the Ambassador for his efforts towards ensuring that compliance issues that stalled the export of Nigerian hibiscus to Mexico were resolved during his tenure. The minister, further, informed the delegation that Nigeria is a large producer of Ginger and Chili Peppers among others, saying the country would want to partner Mexico on trade for these products. “Our hope is that NAQS would be supported to achieve this mutually-beneficial outcome,” Abubakar added. On his part, the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria informed that his country was deeply involved in strengthening the capacity of its agricultural produce, adding that hibiscus value was worth more than $600 million. Miranda expressed delight to do business with Nigeria under the Ministry (FMARD). Remarking, the Comptroller General of NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe stressed that hibiscus is one of the products that Nigeria has been exporting to Mexico before the ban. ‘’We have been doing well until we have hitches on it, but with the resumption of the new Ambassador it took only 3 hours to resolve the matter,” Isegbe noted.