According to reports, the Senate yesterday bemoaned the economic effect of the three- year ban on the exportation of dried beans to European countries, saying it has depleted the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Olanrewaju Tejuosho, disclosed this when he led Senators Matthew Urhoghide and Theodore Orji to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) office in Lagos.
He said the ban is more worrisome because beans export to Europe has been a major foreign exchange earner to the country in the past.
The European Union (EU) recently placed a three-year ban on exports of Nigeria’s dried beans to any of its affiliate countries over non-compliance to the directive to reduce the high level of pesticide in the commodity, which is considered dangerous to human health.
The EU last June gave Nigeria one-year deadline to obey this directive.
But the European Food Safety Authority extended the ban this year after discovering that the beans contained between 0.03mg per kilogramme to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide. The acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.
According to a source in the EU, the extension of the ban on the country’s agricultural produce has further confirmed that the Federal Government and its relevant agencies in the sector still have a lot to do to standardise food production in line with global standards.
Tejuosho expressed concern that the ban was extended despite claims by government agencies including the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), NAFDAC and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment of collaborating to resolve the issue before the end of the deadline.
In her response, the Acting Director General, Mrs. Kehinde Oluremi Oni said though the agency is not directly in control of beans export, it is working with other relevant agencies to ensure early reversal of the ban.
According to her: “NAFDAC is not at the ports and there are lots of false declarations at the point of entry. Even though we have closer working relation with Customs and others, there is still need for NAFDAC to go back to the ports and work with other agencies.”