The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has assured the ban placed on some locally made food items like dried beans, smoked catfish among others by the European Union may soon be lifted.
This was made known by Mrs Heather Akanni, the Technical Adviser on Quality and Standardisation to the Minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
It should be recalled that the EU ban which came into effect in 2015 after residues of harmful pesticides were found on dried beans exported to European countries by Nigerians.
Speaking further, Akanni said it became essential to improve the quality and standard of food consumed locally and exported internationally since the government is working hard to make agriculture a major foreign exchange earner.
She revealed the standardization department and Zero Reject Committee was established by the Federal Government to ensure food that could increase foreign exchange earnings are produced.
She said, “It is within the context of the zero reject initiative, which is an inter-ministerial standing committee, to critically look into the beans sector to ensure that the ban on our beans is lifted.
“The zero reject initiative is supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and they also support the zero reject committee to produce a Conduit of Excellence as a case study on beans.
“We have produced an integrated export promotion plan aimed at processing the lifting of the ban on our beans. We have also published the guidelines for processing and export of beans.
“Once we get it right with beans, it will trickle down to other value chains; we are doing a lot and hope for sustainability”.
Speaking on a video that went viral where a beans trader was seen using sniper (pesticide) to preserve beans, she said the situations unfortunate as it shows Nigerians has been consuming poison.
“As we were doing that, we saw a gentleman using sniper to preserve beans. For us, it shows that we are even consuming poison; hence, we are scaling up the strategies on sensitisation of farmers.
“Most times, our farmers do these things out of ignorance and that is why we have engaged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
“We have also engaged the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Ports Authority and the Federal Produce Inspectorate Services,’’ she said.
She advised members of the public to ensure they cook their beans properly as there are no technologies to check the chemical content of beans.