Following the rejection of some agricultural products across Europe, the federal government have set up Standing Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee on Zero Reject of Agricultural Commodities and Produce/Non-Oil Export, to address the issue.
The Committee which is drawn from relevant Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) will produce a draft document on how to ensure that products meant for export meets the International standard to avert further rejection in the international market.
Inaugurating the Committee, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said the reason the government took the step was to stop further embarrassment in the international market.
According to him “We should avoid embarrassment of rejects in the future, and strengthen our regulatory/inspection authorities to ensure that they live up to their mandates.
“Our desire for Agricultural products and non-oil exports means there will be vigorous pursuit of investment in quality control and standardization.
“In addressing these, we are transforming the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) to make it responsive to issues of safety and phytonsanitary standards in food exports so that it’s reports will be acceptable globally”.
Ogbeh also said the ministry was looking at replacing polypropylene bags with jute bags for packaging grains with mass production of kenaf to boost export.
In another development, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri said Nigeria is at the verge of tapping into the $100 billion on Pulse exportation to India.
The Minister said that the government will will encourage local farmers to produce more pulse which according to him matures in four months.
Lokpobiri said “the Indian High Commissioner came to our office a few days ago and said if Nigeria can grow and supply pulses to India, that India has $100 billion market for pulses.
“Pulse is a staple food for Indians, every Indian consume it for either breakfast, lunch or dinner and it matures in four months. So there is no reason why Nigeria will not partake in that $100 billion.
“The problem we have is identifying crops that will be needed specifically by some countries for the purpose of export, now we have successfully identified this one, the Indian High Commissioner is saying if we are ready, the prime minister of India will come down to Nigeria and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Nigeria”.