The African Export–Import Bank (Afrixembank) has reiterated its commitment to save Nigeria from over $700 million losses agro-export rejections with the inauguration of the African Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC).
The President and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Prof. Benedict Oramah, disclosed at the inauguration of the AQAC on Wednesday in Sagamu, Ogun State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bank inaugurated the AQAC, the first in its series in Nigeria, to ensure the production and export of quality agro-produce from the country.
The AQAC laboratory is an initiative of the Afrixembank to ensure that “made in Africa” products meets the required health and safety standards.
Oramah said that the country had suffered a loss estimated at $700 million over rejected agro-produce, a situation, the AQUA is set up to address.
“Due to poor quality over $700 million worth of agro-produce are rejected from Europe alone.
“About 76 per cent of exports from Africa are rejected annually. We are working with a lot of organisations to create the framework for harmonisation of standards across the continent.
“We are budgeting about $100 million for the development of this plan of setting up African Quality Assurance Centres across the country.
“We are pleased to commission the first in a series of African Quality Assurance Centres.
“We are about today we are going to do a simple ceremony of commissioning but the impact will be monumental,” Oramah said.
In addition he also lauded the Ogun state government for their support in making the AQUA a reality.
“There is no country that aspires to become an export success without solid, quality infrastructure.
“There is no country that can expect to participate effectively in the Agricultural Free Trade Agreements without sound quality infrastructure.
“We want to thank the government of Ogun State under the leadership of Gov. Adedapo Abiodun for making it possible that we are located this large expanse of land,” he said.
On his part, the Ogun State governor, Gov. Adedapo Abiodun, commended the bank for its commitment to financial and economic growth of the African continent.
“On behalf of the entire people of Ogun State, we want to appreciate Afrixembank for considering our state worthy of this very laudable initiative.
“We thank the bank for their very deep commitment to the financial and economic emancipation of the continent.
“The bank has been very consistent by their multi-sectorial intervention across board.
“The choice of Ogun State for the centre is multi-faceted. We are an agrarian state, we are the industrial capital of the country and the location is strategic to the busiest highway in the country.
“This centre aims to make Nigerian agro-produce acceptable by ensuring the right quality produce are exported from Nigeria.
“This will stimulate economic growth and you can imagine the multiplier effect,” Abiodun said.
Mr Marc Roussel, Senior Vice President Africa of Bureau Veritas, the technical company to run the AQAC, said quality agro-produce is the foundation for ensuring food security in continent.
Bureau Veritas is a global leader in testing, inspection and certification and Afrixembank’s technical partner on AQAC project in Nigeria.
Roussel stressed the need for quality products to ensure food security in Africa.
“Ensuring food security in Africa means first succeeding in improving the productivity of the agricultural sector and the quality of its products.
“We aim at succeeding in building a strong agri-food industry and integrating it into the global supply chain.
“Sustainable agriculture is key to transforming Africa and the living conditions of Africans.
“Technologies, innovation and know-how is now fully available to support a developed agriculture sector,” Roussel said.
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