The National Coordinator, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Vincent Isegbe, on Wednesday blamed ineffectiveness of the service on shortage of funds.
The Coordinating Director lamented on insufficient workforce to also manage the various airports and border points in the country.
Speaking at a briefing on Nigerian yams allegedly rejected abroad, he explained that over the years, the NAQS had been battling with limited resources to execute its mandate, which is considered important to promote export of agricultural commodities.
“Funding has stopped us from conducting survey on agricultural commodities either for export or local consumption. So what we do is to engage in advocacy, public sensitization on the right use of pesticides, herbicides and other farm inputs.
“We have done survey on yam, beans, sorghum, vegetables and other selected commodities,” Isegbe stated.
He unveiled plans to commence issuance of Electronic Certification (e-certification) permit for export of agricultural commodities, adding that this became imperative following controversies surrounding the alleged rejection of Nigerian yams abroad, and need to sanitize the system.
Isegbe, who identified the significant role of NAQS officers at the border points and airport facilities in the country, said it is the responsibility of the Service to conduct regular checks on agricultural commodities either for exports or imports before exiting or entry into the nation’s boundary.
According to him, he had petitioned the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on need to return the NAQS officers to the airport facilities following the Presidential order which restricted their activities, subjecting it to the airport security officers, who he claimed were incompetent and inexperienced.
Isegbe noted that at no point did the exporter of the rejected yam got the NAQS certification, stressing that the NAQS does not place label on cartons but only issue certificates.