• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Ministry decries EU ban on some food commodities

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday decried the recent ban of some of the country’s food commodities from entering European Union (EU) member countries.

Jatto Ohaire, Director of Agri-Business and Marketing Development Department, said the ministry had encouraged private investors in the sector, adding that “they must not cut corners but to strive to meet the EU standards’’.

Some the food items banned from Europe till June 2016 are beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips and palm oil.

The European Food Safety Authority held that the rejected beans were found to contain between 0.03mg per kilogramme to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide.

According to the safety authority of the EU, the acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.

Ohaire said: “we very much worried about that. We are worried that our crops that we want to export have not been able to meet the set standard in those countries.

“We have no right, however, to set their standards but to comply with them, and it is expected of us to meet that standard before we export and not to cut corners,’’ he said.

He noted that the state of the art laboratory recently established by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) would take care of that challenge.

“Before now, we do not have adequate infrastructure to standardise all these crops before they are move out. But recently, the SON delivered to the country a standard laboratory in Lagos where these standards can be met to forestall the embarrassment.

“Overturning the ban requires a firm approach to enforcing standards at all times,’’ Ohaire said.

The director further said: “we are doing our part to encourage agriculture commodities marketing but the investors must keep faith with the value chain.’’

“And of course, some of the anomalies start from the farms with them not adhering to best agricultural practices.

“Once the procedure is followed by using the correct seeds, applying the right quantity of fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, then we are sure of harvesting quality produce,’’ he said.

He said that ministry would intensify education and enlightenment of farmers, investors and other stakeholders on the need to follow the right process.

“The ministry has always worked with Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Export Promotion Commission (NEPC) and Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) in this regard,’’ he said.

(NAN)