FG to launch Integrated Export Control Plan for food safety requirement

The Federal Government is set to launch a five-year Integrated Export Control Plan to help the country meet global food safety requirements.

Mohammed Abubakar, Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister said this during the 3rd West Africa Cold Chain Summit and Exhibition (WACCSE) held recently in Lagos.

The minister who was represented by Rasaq Oyeleke, head – nutrition &food safety division, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said that the initiative behind the plan is to ensure that the country’s food products are easily traced and meet the standard of global food safety.

Also, he said that the plan will ensure that all players in export and processing are brought under the plan.

According to him, the traceability element in the plan will be backed by technology. He added that the government would soon kick-start the pilot stage of the initiative which is focused on getting the country’s ban on beans by the European Union lifted.

He said a total of 6,000 youths, which is 1,000 in each geo-political area, will be engaged for the pilot phase of the initiative.

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Oyeleke noted that the federal government will only provide the enabling environment for the private sector to drive the initiative.

The EU Safety Authority had in 2015 banned Nigerian beans export because it contained between 0.03mg per kg and 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide when the acceptable maximum residue limit was 0.01mg/kg.

The commission later extended the suspension of the imports of dried beans from Nigeria until June 2019 under the CN codes 0713 35 00 and 0713 90 00 owing to the continuous presence of dichlorvos and the impossibility to achieve in a short time compliance with the union food law requirements regarding pesticide residues.

In 2019, the ban was again extended for the second time till 30th June 2022 over the failure of the Nigerian government to develop and implement a food safety action plan.

Experts have said that the Integrated Export Control Plan is in response to the demand by the European food commission while calling on the government to ensure the safety of locally consumed foods.

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