Inside Nigeria’s plan to stop rejection of its crops by other nations

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Nigeria has made a move to stop the rejection of the country’s crops by other nations.

The move is being spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), government agencies and private firms.

The plan was announced in a statement that was issued at the end of a one day workshop.

that was organized by Harvest field industries Limited and IITA.

The workshop was aimed at sharing results of aflatoxin levels in maize sampled nationwide under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.

The plan to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria follows the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in crops, food, feeds and livestock which is expected to help achieve zero rejection of commodities exported from Nigeria.

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The one-day workshop in Abuja was themed ‘Scaling Solutions to Control Aflatoxin in Nigeria’s Crop Value Chain: The test results under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.’

“Also, it (the workshop) is to prompt concerted efforts towards the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock as required by global food quality standards.

“Reduced aflatoxin prevalence will contribute tremendously towards achieving zero rejection of our export commodities and ensure food safety in Nigeria,” the statement issued after the workshop reads in part.

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria are also among the participants at the workshop that was held over the weekend.

Others include the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Federal Ministry of Health, Value Seeds Limited, Maize Association of Nigeria, National Groundnut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, among others.

Recommendations

During the technical session, participants at the workshop recommended that the inter-ministerial committee on aflatoxin regulation and enforcement of food safety laws in Nigeria should be revived in addition to calls for the enactment of technical policy regulating the testing and enforcement of allowable aflatoxin limits in food and feed processing and distribution industries, among others.

Aflatoxins

Aflatoxins are harmful toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. Their presence on some grains grown in Nigeria has prompted the rejection of these agro-products in the international market.

Policies and measures

In a bid to diversify the economy and ensure food security in the country, the federal government through the CBN and other government agencies and ministries have introduced various policies and measures to increase productivity in the agricultural sector, which is arguably the largest employer of labour in the country.

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Nigeria’s agricultural imports and exports

Nigeria’s major agricultural imports include wheat, sugar, fish and milk, while the main agricultural exports include sesame seeds, cashew nuts, cocoa beans, ginger, frozen shrimp and cotton. Sesame, cashew nuts and cocoa account for more than half of the nation’s agricultural exports.

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