The director-general of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, Professor Moji Adeyeye, has decried the incessant rejection of food and agricultural commodities from Nigeria by the United States of America and the European Union member countries on account of poor quality.
She urged all the regulatory agencies at the port saddled with the responsibility of ensuring high quality of imports and exports to find urgent and lasting solutions to Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Border Rejection Notifications from the European Commission on products originating from Nigeria.
Speaking on Quality and Safety of Export Food Trade at a virtual technical roundtable with other federal government agencies like the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, MARD, Foreign Portfolio Investments, FPIS, Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC, and Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria, IPAN, amongst others, Professor Adeyeye lamented the resultant bad image the repeated rejection of commodities from Nigeria by the EU has caused the country.
In a statement by NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, in Abuja on Sunday, Professor Adeyeye noted that the stakeholders’ meeting was apt considering the volume of food and agricultural commodities from Nigeria that are currently facing challenges at entry points in some countries in Europe and the United States of America, where they have been repeatedly rejected.
“NAFDAC has a statutory responsibility to safeguard public health through the execution of its mandate. We are charged with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled and packaged water, chemicals – generally referred to as NAFDAC-regulated products,” she noted.
Adeyeye said internationally, Nigeria’s products meant for export market are faced with presence of contaminants such as pesticide residues, notoriously dichlorvos and other impurities, exceeding maximum permitted levels and some with inadequate packaging and labeling which had caused a lot of products’ rejections in the global market.
She disclosed that the agency has over the years intervened to assist Nigerian exporters to meet with international regulations thereby creating employment and earning foreign exchange for Nigeria.
Through this intervention by NAFDAC, she added that it was agreed that these products be subjected to 100 per cent pre-export testing and issuance of Health Certificate to products with satisfactory limits before the European Union further verifie at their border control points.
She further disclosed that her agency had analyzed the RASFF alert from the EU and observed that most rejected products by the EU were smuggled out and not certified by neither NAFDAC nor the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services at the ports.
This she said calls for proper collaboration and synergy amongst all agencies of government to curb the indecent behaviour of some exporters and ensure only quality and certified products are exported.
“We need to close gaps and work together to prevent regulatory gaps being exploited by the unscrupulous traders and their collaborators. There must be a convergence for all regulatory activities, especially at the ports of exit as a starting point, before we begin cleaning up and capacitating the honest operators and traders within the country,” she noted.