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EU beans export ban lift: ‘A national embarrassment’ – NAQS

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THE June deadline promised Nigerians to meet the requirement demanded by the EU before the lift of ban on beans from Nigeria, almost a year after,is already at the corner, but the Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr Vincent Isegbe has disclosed that the Government is working closely with relevant agencies towards ensuring that the European Union’s (EU’s) suspension of Nigeria’s dried beans exports is lifted in June in Abuja recently.

Isegbe further disclosed that the institute has submitted series of reports to the European Union when they went to Netherlands and China in April to meet with the EU team, adding that travelling to discuss such issues met that the country is serious about resolving the relevant issues and to be able to carry out analysis for pesticides.

He noted that Nigeria has sufficient laboratory equipment to test for aflatoxin and they are trying to put our house in order. It should be of note that the EU announced an export suspension measure in June 2015, which affected dried beans from Nigeria, because it contained high levels of pesticides considered dangerous to human health.

The EU’s suspension of Nigeria which is expected to lapse in June is described by Isegbe as a national embarrassment, adding that relevant agencies of government were working closely to ensure that past mistakes were corrected before the deadline.

Isegbe who said that the country is expected to provide substantial guarantees that adequate official control systems have been put in place to ensure compliance with food law requirements, explained that quarantine service officers were not contacted to test the batch of beans that failed to meet international standards leading to the suspension.

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The NAQS Director further revealed that people want to do business with beans adding that there is a market for beans overseas, but weevils are destroying those beans and they need to protect those beans from weevils. “Ignorantly, they applied overdose of the chemicals and the countries of destination rejected them, because of fear that the beans will harm their people and they suspended us”, Isegbe explained.

He who further explained that the beans before now will leave the Nigeria border to European countries even when they did not pass through quarantine, emphasized that stakeholders are asking government to look at the issue holistically if the country really have to do export business, since we need to re-organised how the business should be done.

Isegbe who noted that Quarantine has to be there at the point of the inspection, stressed that they have been talking to clearing agencies not to bypass quarantine. It does not make sense for any agro-businessman to bypass quarantine and try to export. He also emphasized the need for collaboration between regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to ensure quality control and acceptance of Nigerian agricultural exports in the international market.

The coordinating director further said that the service had started using radio and television jingles to educate members of the public and farmers on some of their activities also noted that agro-produce are exposed to a lot of diseases due to poor packing of food as he advised farmers and traders to package their produce properly.

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