The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has provided 10 revised guidelines for exporters of agricultural commodities to avoid rejection in the destination countries.
The head, Media, Communication and Strategies unit, NAQS, Dr Chigozie Nwodo disclosed this in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja. He also said that Nigerian agro-commodities were rejected abroad because some of the exporters were not following the guidelines and some smuggled consignments that were not meant for export.
According to him, agricultural items intended for export might be rejected for some reasons but if followed properly agro-commodities would be accepted all over the world which would definitely boost the economy.
He said absence of sanitary and phytosanitary certificate which is normally issued after inspection and certification of the content of the cargo can cause rejection.
“Sanitary must be in accordance with the conditions on the import permit of the destination country. The exporter must submit the items for inspection and certification by NAQS and obtain the applicable certificate prior to shipment.
“The produce intended for export must be free of harmful organisms or toxic substances and all information required in the sanitary/ phytosanitary certificate must be provided legibly in print.
“Forgery and alteration of certificate forgery or alteration will render the certificate invalid and make products subject to rejection. Any alteration in the date on the certificate, type of consignment, weight and volume of consignment, and authorised signature on the certificate renders it invalid. A certificate with mutilated particulars is, therefore, unacceptable,’’ he said.
He added that wrong labeling was another obstacle because the information on the label of the cargo must be descriptive of the exact contents of the cargo as they were in the sanitary and phyto-sanitary certificates.
“Concealment of strange agro-produce in a consignment of certified commodity concealment of an uncertified agricultural item in the consignment of a certified produce earns total rejection.
“Improper export procedure, certain products require the exporter to give the NAQS advance notification of country to which export is intended.
“Exporting prohibited items are not accepted because some countries prohibit the export of certain agricultural items. Cargo of products on the prohibition list of the destination is liable to rejection at the port of entry,’’ Nwodo said.
Other guidelines are absence of additional declaration, some countries require declarations like date of harvest, place of harvest, whether there are any special handling precautions in addition to the sanitary/phytosanitary certificate.
“Use of unapproved fumigants, the detection of residues of unapproved fumigants in the produce intended for export may constitute basis for rejection of the cargo.’’
Nwodo, however, urged the exporters to obtain general information on quarantine procedures from their official website or contact NAQS preparatory to export for more specific guidance on agro-export.