In its bid to expand the country’s export frontiers, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has reaffirmed its commitment to stimulate the export growth of Nigerian agricultural produce.
The director general, NAQS, Dr Vincent Isegbe, who stated this during a media parley in Abuja yesterday said that the Agency is implementing a programme of backward integration for better export products in a bid to empower farmers, off takers and exporters to comply with the standards of the export market.
He said that the intervention code named ‘’Export Improvement Initiative’’ is tailored to ensure that all relevant activities performed from the fields where the prospective export crops are cultivated up to the point of shipment are consistent with the standard conditions and protocols.
He said that the NAQS has been interfacing with stakeholders to educate and train them on export quality criteria for agricultural produce, adding that the Agency is addressing the fundamental inhibitors of agricultural export and widening the scope for participation of everyday Nigerians in the export business through the strategy.
“Our mission is to catalyse the harnessing of the export potentials of Nigerian agricultural resources. We recently conducted a crop pest survey on pigeon pea, sorghum and groundnut,” he noted.
He said: “The result of our pigeon pea survey has paved a way for Nigeria to penetrate the $100 billion worth pigeon pea market of India. In the same vein, our crop pest survey on sorghum has opened the door for Nigeria to export forage sorghum to China. A local company is expected to ship out the first batch of its consignment in the first quarter of this year.
“Due to increased knowledge and adaptation to guidelines, Nigeria was able to export 1,983 containers of Hibiscus to Mexico, within the first 9 months of 2017. The country earned $35 million US dollars in the same period.”
“If the country produces as much as she can produce and exports as much as her natural endowment allows, we will create thousands of jobs, improve livelihoods of families and place the foreign revenue from the agriculture sector on the upward trajectory,” he added.
“NAQS is leading the government’s drive to stem the tide of the rejection of some Nigerian agricultural produce in foreign markets due to quality defects,” he assured.
According to him, “NAQS will launch ‘Export Certification Value Chain (ECVC)’ for Onions, Garlic, Honey, Cow horns/hooves, Sunflower, Nsukka Yellow Pepper, Sesame, Gum Arabic and Tumeric in the next couple of weeks.
“ECVC details the export eligibility standards for the respective items and outlines the actionable instructions that stakeholders have to adhere to for their produce to pass NAQS inspection and certification tests which are preconditions for issuance of the phytosanitary certificate.”
He explained that NAQS has gone further to map states with the capacity to produce high export value agro-export commodities on industrial scale.