The recent decision of the European Union (EU) to prohibit selected food commodities and fish products from Nigeria has been described as a bad signal for the country.
Mr. Nanakaan Saave, the Benue State Coordinator of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), made this known yesterday in Makurdi, at a one day awareness and sensitization workshop for farmers, agrochemical dealers and stakeholders on the safe and responsible use of pesticides, organized by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), that the ban on the products by the EU was as a result of the excessive application of pesticides and other agrochemical substances on the commodities from Nigeria.
He noted that, “an alert was brought to them about four weeks ago from the European Union of their decision to ban the imports of beans, dried fish, melon and some other agricultural products from Nigeria due to the high deposit of chemicals in the products.
“There decision was based on the fact the high degree of chemicals in the affected farm products have made them dangerous for human consumption.
“On our part as a Council, we had earlier identified these issues and accordingly sounded an early warning to farmers to strictly abide by the best practices in the application of chemicals on our farm products and we will continue to educate and train our farmers.”We are not lying low on the issue because it will certainly affect the volume of export from our country and the inflow of foreign exchange into Nigeria, he said.
Dr. Paul Orhii, the Director General of NAFDAC, who was represented by Sikiru Olowo, the Deputy Director Agrochemicals, explained that the exporters of banned products diverted the agency and failed to subject their products to NAFDAC’s screening at the ports.
He noted that “The exporters of the affected products failed to pass through NAFDAC screening at the laboratories which we have at the ports and which are also supported by the EU and other western countries.”
“We’ll continue to educate and train our farmers on the need to do what is expected of them, so as to avoid further clampdown on farm products from our country.” He added.