By Goodluck Ikiebe
The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, has identified non-compliance with advisory guidelines established by the agency and unwillingness of exporters to comply with minimal sanitary measures as some of the reasons Nigerian food products are rejected in the United Kingdom.
Adeyeye, however, said it held a scheduled side event with the UK Food Standard Agency to change the narrative and stop the rejection of Nigerian food products in the international market.
The meeting, she said, was held during the recently concluded workshop on the Nigeria-UK Enhanced Trade & Investment Partnership in London, hosted under the UK-Developing Country Trading Scheme with the Nigerian delegation led by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, & Investment.
Speaking on Tuesday at a press briefing in Abuja, Adeyeye noted that she was represented by the Director, Ports Inspection Directorate and Head of Office of Trade and International Relations, Dr Abimbola Adegboye.
Adeyeye said the agency also engaged the FSA on the non-notifications on such rejects and non-engagement of the agency on the matter and the need for mutual recognition of electronic certification of both government agencies of export certification, among others.
Adeyeye said: “The challenges bedevilling the export process of NAFDAC regulated products especially, assuring safety and quality status of food exports in Nigeria has been traced to non-compliance with advisory guidelines established by NAFDAC to encourage participatory exports. Almost all exported food products are processed without statutory testing by NAFDAC. Therefore, it is not surprising that all the items exported without NAFDAC quality control and safety tests are rejected.
“Non-utilisation of hitherto free laboratory testing by NAFDAC for export samples coupled with the connivance of unscrupulous agents. Exclusion of NAFDAC’s requirements for its regulated products in the mandatory pre-shipment inspection in the National Export Supervision Scheme as administered by the FGN-appointed pre-shipment Inspection Agents; unwillingness of exporters to comply with minimal sanitary and phytosanitary measures required for exports to countries with stringent market access.
“Poor packaging, disregard for importation requirements of trading partners countries penchant for sourcing from open markets for exports without any form of minimal safety or quality specifications; unwillingness to invest in pre-export activities that help to ensure sustainable export; and disinformation on the roles of NAFDAC in the pre-shipment inspection and verification exercise of container stuffing.”
To tackle the challenges, the agency noted that as an outcome of its meeting with FSA, it is commencing six regulatory-measure approaches to address the situation.
The NAFDAC boss declared that to stem the worsening situation, “no patriot should export any NAFDAC regulated product without it passing through and being certified of its safety and quality status including full compliance with the destination country government requirements.
“This is also very important to avert colossal economic loss resulting from the rejection of non-compliant exports by the trading partners.”
NAFDAC had earlier in the year disclosed that over 70 per cent of food exports from Nigeria are rejected abroad.
The agency said the deplorable state of export trade facilitation for regulated products leaving the country has continued to be a serious cause for concern.