Over 76 per cent of Nigeria’s exported agricultural commodities are often rejected by the European Union for not meeting required standards, the director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye, has said.
Mrs Adeyeye said this on Channels TV Sunrise daily show on Tuesday while speaking on measures taken to improve the country’s agricultural product exports.
“…About 76 per cent of our products are rejected by the EU and it is NAFDAC that is informed using the rapid alert systems that these products have been rejected,” she said.
She lamented that aside from the money lost, protecting the image of the country is extremely important.
“We’ve got to work hard to show that we love this country to the extent that we will not bring disgrace to the country from outside,” she said.
Established in 1993, NAFDAC is the agency responsible for regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and packaged water in Nigeria.
The NAFDAC boss said it “breaks her heart” seeing the country’s agricultural products being rejected because she personally understands the value for money and effort.
“When somebody exports an agricultural product, saves money, gets loans or whatever and that product is rejected, it breaks my heart,” she said.
She said the country’s agricultural commodities are far less acceptable in foreign countries, and that what necessitated that is a sad scenario.
“Just as I am passionate about the local content of manufacturing pharmaceutical products of foods,I am equally passionate about what goes out of our country,” she said.
Mrs Adeyeye lamented that exporters are boycotting regulatory procedures and that all the food products rejected abroad never went through the scrutiny of both NAFDAC and the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS).
“So the people that are exporting are either taking shortcuts or they’re being deceived that their products are okay, just ship it, we will take care of it,” she noted.
Due to lack of adequate storage facilities, she said, some agricultural products developed moulds before shipments, and that such products when bought and used within the country don’t usually have problems.
“But within the country, the storage facility is very poor for Micro-small businesses, and that NAFDAC food survey years back reveals that; there is mould in a lot of our food crops in the country,” she said.
Mould is a soft grey, green, or blue substance that sometimes forms in spots on old food or on damp walls or clothes.
Mrs Adeyeye stated that part of what the agency is doing currently is to amplify sensitization on the need for exporters to ensure that their commodities are duly tested by NAFDAC before exporting them.
The regulator’s boss explained that while they are being prudent by saving more money to enhance the purchasing of efficient testing equipment, the government is also supporting them with some money in this regard.
She appealed to all commodity exporters to visit the agency in order to get their products certified before exporting and that they’re no “fees” attached for doing so.
“I am pleading to the whole country, exporters, and MSMEs who want to export to please come to NAFDAC to make sure your products have quality. If it doesn’t, we will advise you on what to do and we won’t get a penny for all these,” she said.
She reiterated that NAFDAC doesn’t get a fee for exporting goods or for testing goods that are being exported, warning that exporters should ignore anyone asking them to boycott the necessary certifying agencies.
“Don’t lose your money,” she added.
She said while putting all these in place, that they are also working with all the relevant agencies such as the NAQS, Customs, National Export Council (NEPC) and the shippers council in this regard.