Officials of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council are looking at ways of reviewing the European Union’s ban of products from Nigeria.
Issues of poor packaging, non-adherence to food safety measures and non-compliance to administrative procedure had characterised product export from Nigeria to countries in Europe.
The Executive Director of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said the ban, according to a report from the World Bank, could lead to a drop of over $6 billion exportable goods from developing countries by 2016.
Announcing the ban, the European Food Safety Authority said that the food substances were banned because they contained ‘a high level of unauthorised pesticide’.
The food items banned till 2016 include, beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips and palm oil.
According to the EU, Nigeria’s beans was banned because it contained between 0.03mg per kg to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide when the acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.
The Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Paul Orhii, blamed exporters for the ban.
He said they had failed to comply with regulatory requirements for semi-processed and processed commodities.
The Nigerian Senate has tasked food and agricultural agencies in the country to embark on the standardization of food crops that have failed to meet export standards.
The Senate Deputy Whip, Francis Alimikhena, at Thursday’s legislative proceedings drew the attention of the Senate to the ban on some of Nigeria’s agricultural products by the European Union (EU).
The products banned by the EU till June 2016 are beans, sesame seeds, dried fish, dried meat, peanut chips and palm oil.
According to the Deputy Chief Whip, the ban was because the products contains high level of pesticides which is harmful when consumed.
He said: “In 2013, 24 agro-products of Nigerian origin exported to the UK were rejected, while the figure increased to 42 in 2014.”
Mr Alimmikhena added that the beans were found to contain between 0.03mg kilograms to 4.6mg /kg of dichlorvos (pesticides) contrary to acceptable limits.
The ban on the agricultural exports by the EU suggests that Nigeria’s unfavourable balance of trade position with European countries will worsen, as Nigeria would be exporting fewer agricultural products.
Lawmakers also blamed food and agricultural agencies in Nigeria for failing to properly standardize food crops.
The Senate has however directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administeration and Control (NAFDAC), the Ministry of Health and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to be alive in its regulatory duties over food and agricultural products.