The Federal Government has received the Report of a Technical Committee that was set up to prevent the rejection of agro-exports from Nigeria.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo received the committee’s report on Friday in Abuja.
The committee was constituted by the Minister on May 26, 2022, to look into the issue of the rejection of Nigeria agro-export at the international market and proffer appropriate recommendations to halt the trend.
Membership of the Committee was drawn from the public and private sectors and were given six weeks to accomplish the task.
At the end of its assignment the Committee noted major concern such as food safety, technical barrier, non-adherence to best practices and disregard to basic requirements as largely responsible for the rejection of our agro-exports abroad.
Over the years, products from Nigeria have continued to face rejection at the global markets on accounts of non-conformity to global best practices.
Just recently, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye, said that over 76 per cent of Nigeria’s exported agricultural commodities are often rejected by the European Union for not meeting required standards.
Presenting the recommendations to the Minister, the Chairman of the Committee and Director, Commodities and Export Department of the Ministry, Suleman Audu said that the government should embark on a sensitization 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.
He said 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.
The private sector, he stated, should be enabled by the Federal Government, to 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.
According to him, both Agriculture and Trade Ministries should collaborate with Research Institutes, to scale up Research and Development (R&D) activities for the improvement of produce, products, packaging and labelling requirements.
He added that all relevant regulatory authorities in the agro-export value chain, should commence the process of automating their processes and procedures; synchronize them with the APUs, in order to curb infractions and ensure that only quality and certified products are exported.
Audu stated further that the FMITI and FMARD, should work with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders, to carry out quarterly awareness and sensitization campaigns, on step-by-step procedures to ensure zero agro export rejects.
He said, “FMITI and the private sector, should collaborate with Nigerian Incentive based Risk Sharing insurance and Agricultural liabilities (NIRSAL) SAT-C program, to support logistics hubs and develop transportation facilities and aggregation facilities, in order to reduce overhead costs and create momentum for trade.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, through FMITI, should enable the Private Sector, to collaborate with all agencies involved in agro export activities, to create a one stop shop through the use of technology (Application Program Interface – API), to enhance ease of export.
“The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), in collaboration with FMITI’s Commodities and Export Department (CED), should produce documents, jingles and offline promotional campaigns (prints, electronic and billboards) in major Nigerian languages.
“This is to enlighten stakeholders in the agricultural value chain on the need to be Global GAP certified, in order to produce safe and healthy agro produce and avoid rejections.”
Responding shortly after receiving the Report, the Trade Minister commended the members of the Committee for the time and efforts invested to complete the assignment.
By this singular act, he added that members of the Committee have demonstrated their capability to accomplish much within a very short space of time and history will surely reward them.
He said, “I urge you to keep it up as more assignments will be coming your way in the implementation of the recommendations.
“It is significant to state 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.”
He assured members of the Committee of the required political will of government in inplementing the recommendations in the Report.
“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.
“Suffice it to state that the recommendations of the Technical Committee are to be driven by the Private Sector with the Government providing the enabling environment,” he added.
The Minister urged all the stakeholders in the agro-export business in Nigeria to support the implementation of the recommendations as the government work towards preventing the rejection of agro exports at the international market.