New Telegraph

NAFDAC, NAQS to streamline export produce acceptance

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Ser- vices (NAQS) are partnering to streamline the processes required for getting produce certified. Recently, a report presented by the technical committee set up by the Federal Government to prevent the rejection of agro-exports from Nigeria listed food safety, technical barriers, non-adherence to best practices and disregard for basic requirements as major concerns largely responsible for the rejection of Nigeria’s agro-exports abroad. Amid concerns over the situation, the Aviacargo Roadmap Committee set up by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) made a visit to the laboratories of the agencies to have first-hand knowledge of the processes involved in certifying commodities for export and the challenges faced by exporters in meeting the required standard for export. Speaking at the NAFDAC central laboratory on Friday in Lagos, Director of Laboratory Service, Dr. Charles Nwachukwu said the Director-General, of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye, was deeply concerned over the rejection of Nigerian products abroad, adding that the agency was collaborating with NAQS to reverse the trend. He added that NAFDAC and NAQS were working out a Mem- orandum of Understanding to streamline the process of certification of export products out of Nigeria. He said: “The director-general of NAFDAC is seriously con- cerned about the rejects of our commodities in Europe and in every part of the world.

“I am glad that Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) is working with us on this. There are a series of meetings that are ongoing to stream- line the export of agricultural commodities and finish produce outside this country. “These meetings have been held bilaterally and in the presence of the director-general of NAFDAC, and the Comptroller General, NAQS, and their interest are to see how they can streamline things and see what we have to do about the various certifications that are required. “We are ready to partner with anybody to grow the Nigerian system, whether it is in the interest of export or health and we are seriously involved in this.

“In recent times, we told NAQS to issue phytosanitary certificates. But phytosanitary certificates may not go into the contaminants that are necessary for healthy food to be transported from Nigeria to wherever it is being exported to, and NAFDAC does that by issuing clean certificates of health. And both certificates can be ac- cepted anywhere in the world. “So, we are not undermining the activity of anybody, so the much we can do is to streamline the system to ensure that those who are exporting do not have to spend so much money and so much time, that is a concern of the two agencies.

“The committee of the two agencies, NAFDAC and NAQS are working out an MoU to streamline the process of certification, that is the passion of the director general NAFDAC and Comptroller General NAQS.” Nwachukwu added that NAFDAC was offering labora- tory services for export products free of charge adding that the export rejects have been a major concern between the two agencies “that is why we are trying to see what we can do to avoid those rejects.”

Earlier in his address, the coordinator of, Aviacargo Committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko, said part of the reasons for vis- iting the lab was to understand the processes agro-products in the country pass through to get certified before they are exported abroad. He said: “We need to be number one in Africa, in a hurry for the simple fact that we have the largest economy in Africa, we have busy airports many Products, and the big- gest population, we want to be the hub for cargo movements in West Africa”.

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