Nigeria moves to ensure EU lifts ban on beans export

The Federal Government has begun to put in place measures to ensure that the European Union, EU, lifts the suspension placed on beans exportation from Nigeria.

The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, said it organised a workshop for beans farmers, extension workers and other stakeholders to educate them on best practices to meet export standards‎.

‎Speaking at the workshop in Kano, the Co-ordinating Director, NAQS, Vincent Isegbe, said there was an urgent need for collaboration of all stakeholders to prevent the extension of the suspension beyond 2016.

According to him, if farmers do not sell, they will not be encouraged to produce and if they do not produce, the merchants will not have what to sell.

“If it is not brought under control, the high revenue generated from this commodity will reduce and then poverty will increase.

“As an agency of Government responsible for certifying and ensuring that farmers who produce commodity for export have free exports to earn good money.

“It is our responsibility that, the process is not truncated from the point of production to the point of export, it should be free and beneficial,” he said.

He said that most farmers go to the wrong Government agency seeking solutions, urging them to direct their challenges and enquiries to NAQS.

Also speaking, Head of Collaboration and Partnership‎, NAQS, Nnamdi Onukwuba‎, noted that the suspension was as a result of high quantity of chemicals used as pesticides in beans exported.

He said the EU had given Nigeria June 30, 2016 to put in place all measures to produce healthier beans for consumption.

Mr. Onukwuba blamed the situation on middle men who store the commodity with chemicals before export.

He said NAQS was setting up a system that would enable exporters buy directly from the farmers ‎as laboratory test had revealed that chemicals were very low at the farm level‎.

He said as soon the system becomes operational, NAQS will no longer issue certificate to exporters who buy from the open market.

Rashid Maggi, a beans exporter, said if the ban is extended, Nigerian farmers and merchants will be the ultimate losers.

He challenged regulator to penalise defaulters, urging the NAQS to visit warehouses for random checks on agricultural produce set for export.

Some farmers present at the event expressed shock and fear that they could lose their means of livelihood as they were not aware of the ban‎.

Yusuf Muhammed said he was happy with the move of the NAQS as it was aimed restoring hope for him and other farmers.

He said beans farming was very profitable but if the ban is not lifted, they cannot produce, and appealed to government at all levels to support farmers with farm inputs at the right time.

Rabiu Ibrahim, another beans farmer, commended NAQS for the initiative to educate farmers on best practices.

The European Union has just suspended beans export from Nigeria till June 2016.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, the rejected beans were found to contain between 0.03mg per kilogramme to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide, when the acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.

(NAN)

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