After years of rejection suffered by Nigeria’s agricultural exports, the country will on June 29, this year, bounce back to reckoning in the agro export market when it formally ships first consignment of certified yams to the United Kingdom and United States.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the disclosure in Abuja, said the high-level standing inter-ministerial technical committee on zero reject of agricultural produce, co-chaired by him and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, is already bearing positive fruits.
He explained that government had, in a bid to fast-track interventions in the area, empowered the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) to make it more responsive to issues of safety and phytosanitary standards in food exports, and also make its reports globally acceptable.
The minister reiterated government’s resolve to end the embarrassing rejection of Nigerian commodity and produce at the international market. He disclosed that his ministry, with those of trade and investment as well as finance, had commenced work on an export control plan to address beans rejection and develop harmonised commodity codes for other exportable commodities from Nigeria.
“The health of Nigerians is also paramount and the populace needs good quality food as well. There is nothing like Nigerian or local standards, but international standards to which we cannot but adhere in our local handling of food, consumption and export drive,” Ogbeh stated.
He further said the ministry will soon flag-off nationwide advocacy and sensitisation on quality control and standardisation of agro-commodities with support materials to selected small holder farmers.