Nigeria faces loss of revenue running into billions of naira from now till 2016 as a result of the European Union’s ban on the country’s food exports including beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips and palm oil.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the rejected beans was found to contain between 0.03mg per kilogramme to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide, more than the acceptable maximum residue limit of 0.01mg/kg.
Meanwhile, the President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations, Dr. Victor Iyama, has said the body is looking into the banned items to find out the cause and see how the ban can be reversed.
According to him, the country will suffer a huge loss in revenue between now and 2016 while the ban lasts.
In 2014, 42 processed and semi-processed food items exported to the United Kingdom from Nigeria were rejected.
The European Union Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, alleged discovery of excessive amount of chemical contaminants like aluminium phosphide and dichlorvos in the food items which included beans, melon seeds, sweet potato, cashew kernels, nutmeg, snails, soft drinks and sesame seeds.
Explaining the excess in residue limit of insecticide in the food exports, Iyama said the fault was from poor storage of pesticide, maintaining that farmers should not be held liable in most cases.
He said, “When one is fumigating produce for shipping, one is not supposed to leave the preservatives inside the containers because some bags of produce may come in contact with them.
“But some people must have left the preservatives inside the containers after fumigation.”
But the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has blamed fraudulent shipping for the situation.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo, maintained that produce correctly shipped was not banned.
Also in a statement made available to our correspondent, the agency noted that businessmen who invested in the sector without proper guidance accounted for the rising incidence of banned exports from Nigeria.
It added that the individuals involved corrupted the sector and compounded the country’s product integrity problem.
NEPC noted further that the ban on the food exports was a setback for Nigeria as a nation that desperately needed to expand its export basket to boost domestic agricultural activities and create jobs.
Accordingly, the organisation announced that it was embarking on a training series aimed at building a crop of knowledgeable exporters.
This according to the NEPC is a measure targeted at enhancing the integrity of Nigerian products by ensuring that intending exporters are guided to approach the business in a professional manner, thereby reducing the incidence of unexecuted orders or rejects.
According to the CEO, the approach to mentor Nigerians on how to become successful exporters is premised on the need to create inclusive growth in the sector by engaging more hands in producing made-in-Nigeria goods for export.
The statement read in part, “The mentorship programme will address issues of Product Quality, Export Procedures and Documentation, Financing, Payment Terms and Logistics in export trade.