Stakeholders meet over rejection of agricultural exports

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has organized a meeting to strategize how to put Nigeria’s commodities and agriculture produce back on the world export list.

The meeting on the validation of Nigeria’s Strategy for single quality control management system/plan for zero reject of agricultural commodities and produce /non Exports was held in Abuja Nigeria’s capital.

It had various stakeholders in attendance from the agriculture sector coming together to ensure that strategies are put in place for commodities and produce from Nigeria meet international standard and are certified safe for export.

Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Audu Ogbeh said it is very embarrassing and tragic to have Nigerian goods and food items rejected in the world market.

“We have treated the rejection by other economies as prejudice and discrimination; to me this is unwise and self defeating. The truth is that we have never seriously paid attention especially since the dissolution of the marketing boards to the question of standards as demanded by humanity elsewhere especially in the developed economies and emerging markets”

Mr. Ogbeh said Nigeria has to develop zero tolerance for export of substandard goods and that government will clamp down hard on exporters of substandard products.

“In order to stem the tide, henceforth government will come down hard on culprits naming and shaming individuals and agencies failing to abide by laid down regulations on standards and quality control.”

He said if Nigeria could strife to meet up with international standards, there will be no limits to what Nigeria can achieve through export.

The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Trade and Investment Dr. Jumoke Oduwole at meeting, said it is obvious that agriculture needs to function properly were attention, funding and the right policies that will make it work.

She said it was embarrassing for Nigeria’s beans to have been rejected by the European Union.

“Truly it was a National embarrassment the rejection of our beans and other products and other products, it is a national that lot of exporters export Nigerian goods through Ghana and Kenya, it was a source of national embarrassment that we have not yet implemented all the things that we need to do to be able to be competitive in the global value chain”

Dr. Oduwole said Agri-business is a high point of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration agenda as it will be given the needed attention to improve the sector.

“We are interested agric-logistics; we are interested in the infrastructure that takes produce from the farms to the market and from the farms to the ports. I will like to commend this effort this is one of the things that need to be done and am glad that people took up the challenge; it was an inter-ministerial effort and it has produced good fruit today.”

The Minister of Trade and investment in Nigeria, Mr. Okechukwu Enelama, who was represented by the Director of commodity and inspectorate of the Ministry Mrs. Ope Omololu said through the validation of  the document, Nigeria is officially saying no to the rejection of Nigeria’s products in the international market.