In 2015, the European Union(EU) banned importation of Nigerian beans on account of them containing pesticides harmful to health. As per the federal government, while the European Union and United States of America’s ban on import of Nigerian beans still remains, hopes are on that it will soon be lifted.
According to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) assistant director, Products Development Department, Afolabi Bello said that “The problem with beans is insects during storage. With the growing demand, people do not want the weevils, so the farmers and merchants apply chemicals to beans in limitless quantities to kill the weevils. This has a harmful effect on humans consuming the beans.”
The foreign trade report of the National Bureau of Statistics shows Nigeria’s agricultural export surged by 57.02% to N504.9 billion in 2021 compared to N321.5 billion recorded in the previous year, which is the highest Agro Export income on record for the country. However, Nigeria also imported agro-food items valued at N1.97trillion in the same year, resulting in a deficit of N1.46trillion despite significant interventions and investments channeled into the Nigerian agricultural sector.
The inability to export beans to EU countries and America had a negative impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
To overcome this, the Standing Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee (SIMTC) was inaugurated on 28th February 21 with the objective of lifting the EU ban on the imports of Nigerian Beans to ensure that the international markets accept Nigerian Agricultural produce.
Statements By Concerned Authorities
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, during the SIMTC briefing disclosed that Nigeria’s Integrated Export Control Plan(IECP) should be put together meticulously, “There is no doubt that Nigeria can’t realize its potential unless we do the right thing, work together first of all, and also realize and understand dealing with other agencies, private sector, and governments across the world. It is not an easy task doing export business, there are a lot of regulations, and unless you start by putting your home well, you will not be able to work outside.” He also quoted, “If we want to make headway, we must come down and learn to work with one another and that really needs to be done to achieve success. It is not about trading but getting Nigeria out of being banned from Europe, America, and other countries.”
Director, Federal Department of Agriculture(FDA), Mr.Abdullahi Abubakar, quoted that, “Before the ban, several unheeded notifications were sent to Nigerian authorities.” “To lift the ban, the EU wants Nigeria to control exports and provide substantial evidence that the necessary food safety requirements and protocols are put in place.” “Also, to provide substantive guarantees required by the EU that the Sanitary and Phytosanitary(SPS) bodies in Nigeria put food safety protocols in place in line with the international standard.” He also added, “ private companies have agreed to key into the implementation of the pilot action plan that would get the ban on our beans lifted and pave the way for admitting Nigeria produce for export.” According to him, the IECP is a five-year action plan for all SPS agencies and critical stakeholders.
NEPC has been sensitizing bean farmers and merchants on how to store the beans without using chemicals. They have been asked to embrace other methods of storing beans without the application of chemicals like pepper, use of hermetic bags, etc. The SIMTC was inaugurated to ensure that the ban by the European Union on the export of Nigeria’s beans was lifted and Nigeria does not suffer again from any rejection of agro commodities in the export market.