From Okwe Obi, Lagos
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), yesterday said the country has resumed export of hibiscus flower with 1,111.4 metric tonnes, to Mexico.
In 2018, Mexico had banned Nigeria from exporting the flower to its country following the discovery of a pest called Khapra beetle.
Its Director General, Dr Vincent Isegbe, stated this yesterday in Lagos State, at the 3rd Director General’s Summit and Management Retreat, titled; ‘Leveraging Sanitary and Phytosanitary Adaptability to Push Continental and Global Export Frontiers.’
“As at June this year, we have export 1,111.4 metric tonnes of hibiscus flower to Mexico. We have long resolved the issue. The primary issue then was the detection of pest.
“It is called Khapra beetle. We are building so many chambers for specific fumigation. They have that we use a metre bromine fumigation which is what we are doing right now,” he said.
Isegbe also noted that NAQS should be allowed to operate in seaports, airports and other strategic entry and exit points so as to tackle the import and export of uncertified agricultural produce which are unsafe for consumption.
He said, “the increase in smuggling is because the NAQS is not at the point of checking those things. You know government circular had delineated the quarantine service from operating at those points, saying it is only Customs. And of course, the Customs has its own duty to perform. We have so much to perform.
“For AFCFTA to be successful, the quarantine service must necessarily be a the point of entry and exit point of the country. Our market is massive.
“If quarantine service is not there to checkmate what is coming in, Nigeria will become a dumping ground. We are specialist in identifying, incensing certified agricultural produce coming into the country.
“We have been delineated from the airports and seaports and we can not operate that is why those consignments of beans that resulted in the ban of Nigeria, first for 1 year, then 3 years, which was supposed to end in 2019. The people that did that confirmed that they did not pass through the NAQS.”
Meanwhile, a Lead Expert, African Continental Free Trade Areas, (AFCFTA), Olusegun Olutayo, explained that NAQS should be allowed to operate, adding that most African countries would capitalise on the AFCFTA, to import uncertified agricultural produce.
Olutayo said, “AFCFTA is an African thing. Every African country has the land. The development of all African country is on agriculture. It means NAQS will have to get that right in terms of import because those goods will come in under AFCFTA. They need to be on guard.”
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