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  • NAFDAC advises exporters to stop embarrassing Nigeria
  • The National Agency for Food And Drug
    Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has
    advised Nigerian exporters to stop embarrassing
    the country by obtaining the agency’s
    certification of products.
    The Spokesman of NAFDAC, Dr Abubakar Jimoh,
    gave the advice while fielding questions from the
    Newsmen on Monday in Abuja on the rejection
    of about 25 Nigerian produce by the European
    Union (EU) between 2015 and 2016.
    Jimoh explained that the EU had rejected the 25
    exported food products from Nigeria for lack of
    standard.
    Some of the food products on the EU rejection
    list from Nigeria include beans, sesame seeds,
    melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips
    and palm oil, among others.
    He therefore urged exporters to subject their
    products to NAFDAC’s standard and
    internationally accredited laboratories for proper
    certification.
    He said that the screening and certification of
    any product for export by NAFDAC was free of
    charge in spite of facilities, personnel and
    chemical reagents being used to conduct such
    tests.
    “The Federal Government is doing this as a
    deliberate policy to encourage our exporters and
    to satisfy international standards for exports.
    “We are now appealing to our exporters not to
    run away from product certification of NAFDAC, it
    is free and we don’t charge anything for such
    service.
    “We have adequate personnel and equipment to
    carry out such responsibility in the country,’’
    Jimoh said.
    The spokesman lamented that the action of
    exporters has put the country’s image in bad
    light and also cause a huge loss to the
    exporters themselves which had implication to
    the economy of the country.
    According to him, NAFDAC had six functional
    laboratories that conduct various types of
    products test across the country.
    He also decried exporters’ penchant for
    bypassing NAFDAC and smuggling of their
    products at the detriment of the country’s
    economy and their income.
    Jimoh said that the agency had two functional
    laboratories in Lagos, one each in Kaduna, Agolo
    in Anambra, Maiduguri and Port Hacourt, while
    the one in Calabar had not been completed.
    He disclosed plans to establish another
    laboratory in Benue to serve exporters in the
    North Central part of the country.
    Jimoh, who is also the NAFDAC Director Special
    Duty, noted that the laboratory in Lagos had
    been accredited internationally and any product
    that gets approval from such lab would be
    recognised globally.
    He confirmed that the EU had certified the
    laboratory in Lagos and considered it as meeting
    the world standard.
    He disclosed that Kaduna laboratory was
    inherited by NAFDAC from the Federal Ministry of
    Health and later gutted by fire, but that the
    agency had built a new lab.
    The spokesman added that the Kaduna
    laboratory was built to serve all agricultural farm
    produce coming from the north for screening
    and certification and exportation.
    He added that the laboratory has required
    facilities and equipment and was now awaiting
    international accreditation.
    According to him, Agolo, a regional laboratory
    built by NAFDAC and inaugurated sometime in
    2010 by former president Goodluck Jonathan,
    also has the capacity to serve exporters from
    the South East region.
    “The EU team that visited our lab in Lagos about
    a year and half ago were happy with what they
    met on ground.
    “We have two laboratories in Lagos, the one in
    Oshodi deals with food products, micro toxic,
    High Liquid Performance Chromatography and
    pesticide residues, while the one in Yaba deals
    mainly on drugs.
    “Laboratory is capital intensive and we cannot
    have it in every state; therefore those we have
    now serve states close to them.
    “We have the capacity and we are well prepared
    to ensure all our exported products from the
    country get NAFDAC’s clean bill of health as an
    agency charged with responsibility of quality
    control,” he said.
    Jimoh also urged the Nigerian Customs Service
    to continue to cooperate with NAFDAC in
    ensuring that such products were not smuggled
    out of the country.
    Meanwhile, the All Farmers Association of
    Nigeria (AFAN) in Kano S says it will convene a
    meeting with producers of agricultural products
    affected by the EU rejection policy to reverse the
    development.
    The state AFAN Secretary, Alhaji Garba Bichi,
    told Newsmen in Kano that the meeting would
    draw all stakeholders from across the state in
    order to find a lasting solution to the problem.
    “We have decided to convene a meeting with all
    those affected by the EU rejection on some
    agricultural products in order to address the
    issue.
    “The rejection is as a result of the failure of
    producers to meet standards due to incorrect
    application of pesticides and other agrochemical
    substances.
    “So we feel it is necessary to meet with affected
    farmers and other stakeholders to find a way
    out,” Bichi said.
    He assured that even though some of the
    affected products were not produced in the
    state, but the association would meet with the
    affected producers with a view to taking a
    collective decision on the issue.
    The scribe said the meeting was expected to
    come up with useful recommendations for
    immediate implementation and if possible seek
    technical advices from experts.
    An official of the Nigerian Export Promotion
    Council (NEPC) in the Kano State told NAN on
    condition of anonymity that the council last year
    trained some farmers of a particular product,
    following the development.
    The official, who, works at the Enquiry Desk, said
    the training which was held in Kaduna, was
    conducted on melon and ginger where farmers
    were given technical advices on how to add
    value to their products and ease acceptability in
    the international markets.

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