Agro-export: Experts harp on standards for acceptability


By Mercy Omoike

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Lagos, May 25, 2023 Agriculture experts have reiterated the importance of adherence to quality assurance standards for the acceptance of Nigeria’s agro-produce exports.

The experts made this known in separate interviews with Naija247news on Thursday in Lagos.

They were reacting to a report attributed to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control that over 70 per cent of food exports from Nigeria are rejected abroad.

Mr Akin Alabi, the co-founder Corporate Farmers International, said that adherence to quality assurance standards across the agriculture value chains was important for acceptance of the nation’s agro-produce globally.

“The acceptance of Nigerian agro-produce in other countries will depend on our adoption of standards in crop cultivation to harvest and even processing.

“One major thing farmers and all across our agro-produce value chains should understand is that we are meant to produce for quality and standard to meet international markets.

“Now this is a gap that we are yet to fill within the value chain and that is why we always hear that major Fast-Moving Consumer Goods that do not play with quality assurance reject these produce.

“Quality assurance determines the quality of the agro-produce at the point of harvest. It determines the produce is good for domestic consumption or for exports,” Alabi said.

According to him, another reason some of our agro commodities are rejected outside the country is based on some political undertones.

“Some of our agro-produce are routed through other African countries for international exports and yet are not rejected at their port of arrival.

“For instance, the ginger produced in Nigeria and export via Ghana is not rejected because the label of the country of export has changed.

“This is because the Nigerian name brand has damaged our international quality assurance in terms of agriculture produce.

“We also need to hold our leaders accountable in terms of adoption of policies that by the time our produce go out, there is guarantee of safety, quality assurance and preservation of produce we export,” Alabi said.

On his part, Dr Ismail Olawale, a fellow at National Agriculture Extension Research Liaison Service, said farmers needed to adhere to international best practices in crop cultivation and storage.

“Even though we have Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the problem is that most of the farmers are not adhering to these standards in terms of chemical use in crop cultivation.

“Also, part of the reason why some of our produces are rejected upon export is due to poor storage systems.

“Storage of agro-produce post-harvest is not really coordinated even though there are standard preservatives, a lot of farmers abuse the usage of these preservatives.

“For example, in a situation where one gallon of the substance is required to preserve 10 bags of grains, some of these farmers make use of two,” Olawale said.

He added that the packaging of agro-produce contributed to the continuous rejection of the country’s food.

“The packaging of our agro-produce from the farm gates to the table for consumption is really poor hence the continuous rejection of our produce.

“We have terrible food preservation and food control system hence the rejection of our produce after export.

“To attract acceptance of Nigerian agro-produce, we must standardise our regulatory system on food preservation and storage,” he said.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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