Nigerian agricultural produce exporters seek end to EU ban

20151125202829Some stakeholders in the Agro-Commodity Export onSunday urged the Federal Government to address the ban placed on some Nigerian produce by the European Union.Obiora Madu, the Chairman, Export Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), made the appeal when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.He spoke on the sidelines of a one-day interactive conference with exporters.Mr. Madu said that it was imperative for the government to resolve the issue before the June 2016 deadline given by the EU to correct the anomaly.“Yes, there are many export markets beyond Europe but if we do nothing, it is likely to escalate when other nations join the EU to reject our produce then we are in trouble.“As a chamber, we are concerned about the trend and are actively at the forefront of sensitising farmers and exporters on compliance to internationalstandard for our produce,’’ he said.He stressed the need for collaborative efforts of all regulatory authorities and relevant stakeholders in formulating a framework to address the challenges of the nation’s agricultural produce in the international market.Mr. Madu noted that the country’s natural resources were not utilised to the optimum for economic growth.“Agriculture is a viable alternative that can sustain the economy considering the reality of dwindling oil revenue.“At independence, agriculture held sway, over 90 per cent of earnings came from agriculture but presently the entire non-oil sector, including solid minerals is contributing less than 10 per cent to the GDP.“The potential is there but the concentration in oil removes our attention from agriculture,” he said.He also urged the government to create more incentives for agro exporters to mitigate the deficiency of logistics, infrastructure and high cost ofexporting goods.The EU in June suspended some of the nation’s food items.They include beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, fried fish, meat, peanut chips among others from entering Europe till June 2016.According to the European Food Safety Authority, therejected beans were found to contain between 0.03mg per kg to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide.The acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.The excess chemical in the produce are said to be harmful to health.

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