Kano State will soon begin the export of vegetables to the United Kingdom and other European countries, according to the Coordinating Director of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, Dr. Vincent Isegbe.
“We are opening up Kano to vegetable exports. We want to take advantage of the irrigation facilities available in the north. We are discussing with the Kano State government and soon we would start. We already have a vegetable lodge put in place by the Quarantine Service,” Isegbe told our correspondent in a phone interview.
“Presently, vegetable exports from Lagos State alone are running into millions of dollars. Initially it wasn’t organised until we came in and trained people. Now we are exporting to the United Kingdom and other countries without any problem.”
Isegbe explained that the service was making efforts to upgrade the agricultural export value chain with regard to the use of pesticides, warehousing and storage.
He said, “The European Union suspended our beans exports because they discovered high levels of storage chemical pesticides, dead insects and faeces of rodents in some of the consignments that were shipped overseas. The suspension does not extend to any other agricultural commodity.
“Since we received the notification in June last year, we called all stakeholders like the Customs Service, Nigeria Export Promotion Council and others to a meeting. In fact since the suspension, we have met thrice.
“We have designed our work plan in three phases; we are currently upgrading our laboratory services, bringing equipment to test more agricultural commodities. We don’t want to wait for another issue to come up when we are through with beans. We want to take it holistically.”
He added that the NAQS’s officials were also receiving the necessary training, both locally and overseas in view of recent developments. He said all other issues which are expected to become a challenge in the future, were being tackled concurrently.
Isegbe said, “Part of our work plan is to engage the exporters, warehouse managers, transporters and clearing agents because they need to know what to do at any particular point in time.
“If everyone along the value chain from the point of production through our export desk is aware, then we are less likely to have challenges exporting our commodities overseas. For plant products like beans, yam, tomatoes and vegetables, they have to get the phytosanitary certificate.
“That is what the importing countries want as guarantee that these commodities have gone through quarantine administration and certification.”
He allayed fears over the EU ban, saying it was set to expire on June 29 2016.
News Credit: Punch Newspaper