EU ban: FG, UNIDO, develop export control plan

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As part of efforts to meet the European Union, agriculture export requirement, and get the ban on Nigeria agricultural produce reversed, the federal government has developed the Integrated Agro-Export Control Plan from the inter-ministerial technical committee on Zero Reject of Agricultural commodities and non-oil export sets up last year.
The Plan is in collaboration with the United Nations, Industry Development Organization (UNIDO)
The Export Control Plan is part of meeting the EU’s Criteria for lifting the ban on Nigeria’s dry beans export.
It could be recalled that the European Union in 2016 banned Nigeria from exporting beans and other agricultural produce to any of it member states.
Presenting the contents of the plan to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Chief Technical Advisor, National Quality Infrastructure Project, Dr. Shaukat Hussain, said the standing inter-ministerial technical Committee on Zero Reject of Nigerian agricultural commodities and produce/non-oil exports has agreed on an action plan, adopted the conduit of excellence methodology and approved the phased implementation approach of the action plan proposed by United Nations Industrial Organisation, (UNIDO) while also agreeing to set up a working group for the development of an export control plan in line with CoE.
Hussain, said the trade suspension will be in place “until the Nigerian authorities can provide substantial guarantees that they have put in place an adequate official control systems to ensure that dried beans comply with the relevant food law requirements”
Nigerian authorities are expected to submit a detailed action plan that will include the following information: Information on reasons/origin of the pesticide residues, information on growers and their training/certification, information about (i) export controls, (ii) frequency of sampling, (iii) accreditation and methods of any laboratories used and (iv) results obtained.
“An export control plan should be put into place with a view to ensure farmers are trained on good agricultural practices, relevant codex alimentarius standards are applied, exported consignments are traceable to certified farmers sampling and analysis of consignments is done in accredited laboratories.
“There must be a multi-disciplinary plan to assure that exported products comply with quality standards and are in line with the importing countries’ requirements. The Export Control Plan provides tools and guidelines to build fundamental for quality production, capacity building, strengthening the regulations and legal environment.
On certification, Mr Hussain warned that paper certification should be discouraged, saying certificate fraud is an important source of export risk and that paper-based certificates are not secure enough, not easily accessible remotely and that in paper-based certificate system, constructing an information chain and traceability is difficult.
“A strong and effective control plan must have provisions for fraud-safe export certificates, to reduce certificate fraud and increase trust with the trading partners.
Also speaking, the head of Trade and Economics section of the EU to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Mr Filippo Amato, said the EU welcomed the efforts of the government in addressing the issue of quality and safety of agricultural commodities produced in Nigeria, saying that this is not only an issue of export, but first an issue of health of Nigerians consumers.
“The work currently done will benefit all agriculture products that Nigeria wishes yo export. This is key in view of the strong commitment of the government to diversify it’s economy.
“Ultimately, this is what will determine if the conditions are met to lift the ban once the integrated export control plan is formally submitted,” he said.
Receiving the Plan, the Minister said the plan was about Nigeria’s survival, saying if Nigerians improve on what they eat, they would spend less on hospital.
He promised that the country will not give up until it attain international food standard.
“We must get back into the European market, so do all you can to ensure that we get back into the market. Do all you can to standardised our agric products for export,” he charged.

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