By Kudirat Musa
Abuja, Feb. 6, 2019 (NNN) The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), says the agency has been helping to promote exportation of agricultural products to stem the tide of rejection in the international market.
The Director-General of the agency, Dr Vincent Isegbe, made this known at a Media Parley with Nigerian Journalists in Abuja on Wednesday with the theme: “The Role of the media in the Promotion of Export of Agricultural product’’.
“The agency is saddled with the promotion of export of agricultural produce and we are leading government’s drive to stem the tide of the rejection of some agricultural produce in foreign markets due to quality defects.
“We empower farmers, off takers and exporters to comply with the standards of the export markets.
“The agency has been interfacing with stakeholders to educate and train farmers and exporters on export quality criteria for agricultural produce and Global Good Agricultural Practice (GAP),’’ he said.
Isegbe said that the mandate of the agency was to prevent the introduction, establishment and outbreak of animal and zoonotic diseases such as pests of plants and fisheries and their products.
“The agency is also responsible for facilitating international trade in Nigerian agricultural resources and ensures that Nigerian food commodities conform to international standards and requirements.
The director-general expressed satisfaction on the NAQS report on best practices which was yielding great rewards due to increased knowledge and adaptation to the guidelines.
According to him, Nigeria was able to export 1,983 containers of Hibiscus to Mexico within the first nine months of 2017 and the country earned 35 million dollars in the same period.
“Our mission is to catalyse the harnessing of the export potential of the Nigerian agricultural resources and we recently conducted a crop pest survey on pigeon pea, sorghum and groundnut.
“The result of the pigeon pea survey has paved a way for Nigeria to penetrate the 100 billion dollars worthy pigeon pea market of India.
“Our result for sorghum has opened the door for Nigeria to export forage sorghum to China and local company is expected to ship out the first batch of its consignment in the first quarter of this year,’’ Isegbe said.
The director-general expressed the agency’s commitment to stimulating the growth of export of Nigerian agricultural produce.
He said that the agency would launch “Export Certification Value Chain (ECVC)’’ for Onions, Garlic, Cow horns/hooves, Sunflower, Nsukka Yellow Pepper, Sesame, Gum Arabic and Tumeric.
“We have gone further to map states with the capacity to produce high export value agro-export commodities on industrial scale.
“The exploitation of Nigeria’s comparative advantage in many agricultural commodities will proliferate opportunities for wealth creation.
“If country produces as much as it can export as the nation’s natural endowment allows, we will create thousands of jobs, improve livelihoods and place the foreign revenue from the agriculture sector on the upward trajectory for the country.’’
According to him, the agency is ready to assist any Nigerian who is interested in exploring the prospects that abound in the land.
He solicited the support and assistance of stakeholders, states, local governments, private sectors and journalists in achieving more of the set goals for the country to be self-sufficiency and be recognised with quality produce globally.
Isegbe commended the journalists for generously projecting the initiatives and activities of the agency and making its news known at home and abroad.
“Your coverage of NAQS and issues within its purview has always been guided solely by sense of duty. We need to integrate you into our operations because the ramifications of our functions involve awareness.
“We will equip you with the tools you need to report authoritatively on developments that border on quarantine and export of agricultural produce,’’ he said. (NNN)
Edited by Deji Abdulwahab/Grace Yussuf