The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has confiscated perishable exported foods worth over N3 million, which were earlier rejected by the United Kingdom due to failure to obtain phytosanitary certification.
The NAQS Head of Inspection, South-West Zone, Dr Moses Adewumi, supervised the confiscation in Lagos.
According to him, under the International Movement of Agricultural Produce, there are standards to be met as domiciled in the International Plant Protection Convention.
“We have 41 standards that guide commodities and movement of vegetables and other perishable foods.
“Before any perishable food can be exported, it must be accompanied with phytosanitary certification.
“We want all exporters and those that are trying to come into the business to be aware of phytosanitary certification.
“The phytosanitary certification states all the health issues of the commodities being exported,” Adewumi said.
He advised exporters to visit any Quarantine office for procedures on exportation of perishable foods.
Dr Dayo Folorunso, a scientist at the zonal office, Ikeja, advised that a farm must have a good structure including staff, storage and pack house before planning for export.
Folorunso added that there was the need for intending exporters to have cool vans.
He blamed the rejection of the commodities by the United Kingdom on cutting corners.
Folorunso urged exporters to desist from such an attitude, noting that it tarnished Nigeria’s image and generated losses for such exporters.
He announced that the export certificate of the defaulter would be suspended indefinitely to serve as deterrent to others.
Dr Eze Vincent, Head of Station, NAQS, NAHCO Terminal, advised exporters to follow due process.
He said that exporters should avoid anything that could lead to rejection of their commodities, especially as the Federal Government was encouraging exportation of agricultural produce.
The National Publicity Secretary of NAQS, Dr Gozie Nwodo, who represented the Coordinating Director, Mr Vincent Isegbe, noted that the core mandate of the service was to facilitate trade and help farmers to excel in the international market.
He noted that NAQS facilitated exportation of Zobo to Mexico, America and some other countries.
According to him, Nigeria made over N23 million from exportation of produce to Mexico in seven months in 2017.
He urged exporters to visit any NAQS office to get more education on exportation of produce to meet international standards.
Nwodo told exporters to regularly visit NAQS’s website for information and guidelines on exportation of perishable items.
Dr Ubiogoro Oniovosa, Head of Animal Quarantine of NAQS in South-West, advised exporters to cooperate with the service to sustain their businesses.
Oniovosa said certification of produce by the service would prevent rejection.
Some of the items confiscated are vegetables, garden eggs, pears, cold pap, ‘ ugu ’ leaves water leaves, ‘Yakwa’, ‘oha’, ‘otazi’, and ‘fufu’.