NAQS laments loss of $80m on hibiscus export within two years

Nigeria lost 80 million dollars, an equivalent of 28.8 billion naira in the last two farming seasons due to the lull in the export of Hibiscus flower (zobo), the Director-General of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr Vincent Isegbe, has said.

In a chat with journalists, on Thursday, in his office in Abuja, Dr Isegbe lamented that ‘’the lingering ban on the export of the product to Mexico, the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus has had the effect of freezing one of Nigeria’s most significant foreign revenue streams in the agricultural sector.’’

He explained that Mexico suspended the export of Hibiscus flowers from Nigeria in 2017, on account of the presence of a storage pest in some cargoes which originated from our country.

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Since then, NAQS, which is the lead agency responsible for facilitating international trade in Nigerian agricultural commodities, is working hard to reopen the gateway of the Mexican market to Nigerian Hibiscus as soon as possible.

According to him: ‘’We are desperate to achieve the resumption of export to our largest Hibiscus trading partner. Thousands of jobs are at stake too.

“We have developed a work plan in consultation with relevant stakeholders across the value chain (namely, Hibiscus farmers, suppliers, transporters and cleaners) to serve as a pathway to regaining Nigerian access to the Mexican market.

“This work plan aims to get everyone on the same page in the interest of achieving industry-wide compliance with the applicable export grade standards for Hibiscus.’’

Dr Isegbe disclosed that the implementation of the work plan stands at 90 per cent. He called on all stakeholders to rally round NAQS to push the work plan to the finish line.

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