Food safety, technical barriers, non-adherence to best practices and disregard for basic requirements have been listed as major concerns largely responsible for the rejection of Nigeria’s agro-exports abroad, a new report has shown.
The report was presented by the technical committee set up by the Federal Government to prevent the rejection of agro-exports from Nigeria. Membership of the Committee was drawn from the public and private sectors and was given six weeks to accomplish the task.
Presenting the recommendations of the report to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, chairman of the committee and director, Commodities and Export Department of the Ministry, Suleman Audu tasked the government to embark on a sensitisation and awareness program on the need for farmers and operators in the agricultural value chain, to secure and adopt Global GAP certifications in collaboration with the Private Sector.
According to him, the committee also recommended that the Ministries of Trade and Agriculture should have a dedicated budget to fund the Global GAP training, traceability and certification of all their farmers, to enable their products qualify for exports, under the Federal Government initiative.
He said that the committee also wanted the Federal Government to enable the private sector develop QR Code traceability card for the registration of all the operators and their agricultural commodities, in order to enhance transparency, traceability and engender visibility and acceptability for exportable agro commodities.
The chairman further said that all relevant regulatory authorities in the agro-export value chain should commence the process of automating their processes and procedures; synchronise them with the APUs, in order to curb infractions and ensure that only quality and certified products are exported, among other recommendations.
Responding, the minister assured members of the committee of the required political will of government in implementing the recommendations in the report.
He noted that the implementation of the committee’s recommendations will increase the export basket of agricultural commodities and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“It would therefore, require a synergy between the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the Private Sector to yield these fruits. I am, however, convinced that beyond the strength of your recommendations, there is the need for adequate attention to their implementation,” the minister said.
“You all are aware that government cannot do it alone, therefore the cooperation of the private sector and other non-State actors will be critical in achieving the objective for which your Committee was put in place,” he added.