Forty-eight days after the Federal Government received the technical committee’s report that was set up to prevent the rejection of agro-exports from Nigeria at the international market, the government has hit the ground running with the implementation of some of the recommendations.
In a bid to ensure that the recommendations of the Report are properly articulated for the growth and development of the Nigerian economy, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo on Thursday inaugurated the implementation committee for the recommendations.
The Committee is to be chaired by the Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Dr Ezra Yakusak and Co-Chaired by the Director, Commodities and Export Department of the Ministry, Suleman Audu.
Speaking at the event, the Minister charged the Committee to be diligent in carrying out its assignment as their mandate is critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “Suffice it to state that a number of activities have been outlined to implement the recommendations of the technical committee and it is the task of the implementation committee to diligently ensure that they are properly articulated for the growth and development of the export sub-sector of the economy.
“As the assignment has reached a crucial stage, I wish to urge members of the committee to rededicate themselves so as to be able to accomplish this urgent national assignment in good time
“Distinguished members of the implementation committee, I want you to consider yourselves fortunate to have been found worthy of this assignment and as such, justify the confidence reposed in you by working as a team to realize the dream of stopping the rejection of our agri-commodities at the international market.
“It is my belief and expectation that at the end of your assignment, the agricultural subsector of the economy will be on the path to sustainable development, job creation and increased productivity.”
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Committee who was represented at the event by the Director, Product Development, NEPC, Mrs Evelyn Obidike commended the Minister for putting in place the implementation committee within the shortest possible time.
He said, “All hands must be on deck to ensure prompt and effective implementation of the committee’s recommendation as approved by the Minister.
“Therefore, today’s event is a significant milestone and a seamless implementation of the recommendations of the technical committee, will no doubt provide lasting solutions to the numerous challenges bedeviling the development of the non-oil export sub-sector, especially rejection at the international market.”
While stating that the task ahead is daunting but not insurmountable, he assured the Minister that the committee will deliver on its mandate within the shortest possible time.
The committee’s terms of reference are to draw work the plan to implement the recommendations of the technical committee on export reject; prepare budget for the committee’s activities, co-ordinate the activities connected with the implementation of the recommendations; and any other assignment that will facilitate the work of the Committee.
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.
During the presentation of the Technical Committee’s report on September 16, the members had recommended to the Minister 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.
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.
It was also recommended that the private sector 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.