THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Mojisola Adeyeye has said over 70 per cent of food exported from Nigeria are rejected abroad due the poor state of export trade facilitation for regulated products leaving the country.
Adeyeye stated this at the official commissioning of the New NAFDAC Office complex at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, according to a statement released on Sunday, May 21, by the agency’s media consultant, Sayo Akintola.
The NAFDAC DG assured that the incessant rejection of food exports from Nigeria in some European countries and the United States of America will be addressed.
She said there was a need to strengthen collaboration between NAFDAC and related agencies in other countries at the ports.
“NAFDAC collaborates with Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services to ensure that due diligence is done because over 70 per cent of the products that leave our ports get rejected.
“Considering the money spent on getting those products out of the country, it is a double loss for both the exporter and the country,” she said.
Adeyeye further noted that a trip to NAFDAC export warehouses within the international airport will explain the major reason for the continuous rejection of Nigerian exports abroad.
She, however, noted that the agency is responding to the challenge by collaborating with agencies at the ports to ensure that goods attain the standard and regulatory requirements of the importing countries and destinations.
“The mandate to safeguard the health of the populace through ensuring that food, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, and packaged water are safe, efficacious, and of the right quality in an economy that is overwhelmingly dependent on the importation of the bulk of its finished products and raw materials could never have been actualised without the effective presence of NAFDAC at the ports and land borders,’’ she said.
Adeyeye commended the collaboration between the agency and the Nigeria Customs Service, as well as the police and other security agencies.
‘’Without Customs, we will not be able to do a lot of what we have been able to do. The collaboration between Customs and NAFDAC is huge.
“NAFDAC is a complex organisation. We are scientific. We are police and we work with the Department of State Services. We work with Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation because of the few unscrupulous stakeholders.
‘’Without the police, we cannot do much in terms of investigation and enforcement. We have over 80 policemen with us in NAFDAC. They help us a lot when we are doing raids or investigations as the case may be’’
The reported that a study revealed that some hazardous pesticides banned in Europe were being used in Nigeria despite attempts by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to clamp down on the importation of harmful chemicals into the country.
The report stated that Nigeria imports 147,446 tonnes of pesticides annually, more than the total imports of Southern Africa, 87,403 tonnes, and North Africa, 109,561 tonnes.
However, the report further noted that despite the increasing imports, the informal nature of agricultural production in the country has made it difficult to record how pesticides are used.
“Surveys have shown that 80 per cent of the pesticides used most frequently by small-scale farmers are highly hazardous pesticides. Among the most commonly used are atrazine, chlorpyrifos and mancozeb – all of which are prohibited in the European Union,” the report said, adding that 58 per cent of the existing pesticides in the country are already banned in Europe.
The banned pesticides are prevalently used for agricultural commodities produced like cassava, yam, maize, fruits, cocoa, beans, among others.
Reacting to the report’s findings in a statement released on May 7, the Director General of NAFDAC Mojisola Adeyeye said the agency is set to ban another 12 pesticides and agrochemical active ingredients in the country.
The NAFDAC boss called for the cooperation of stakeholders and the general public to rid the country of hazardous pesticides.