From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
Following UK rejection of Nigerian vegetables, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) on Monday said it has sanctioned the accused firms.
The government institution stated that the firms failed to comply with appropriate procedures such as getting the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) certificates from the NAQS.
In an exclusive interview with AgroNature Nigeria, NAQS Head of Media and Public Relations, Dr. Chiegozie Nwodo, in Abuja disclosed that smugglers often attempt to play a smart game which are detrimental to their businesses.
He said exporters are to pay required fee to the Federal Government account such as N15 per carton of vegetable among other proper processes.
However he noted that the export process could have been revisited but due to the nature of agricultural produce, the UK government had no option than to reject the consignment.
Nwodo emphasised that the development was not a ban but rejection of the particular consignments.
His words: “The UK authority asked them for phytosanitary documents which they didn’t have.
“They didn’t have the certificates so they had to return it.”
He added that, “Its just a consignment of vegetable. It was not a ban. Had it been it’s other produce that have longer shelf life they could come back and redo the processing. Meanwhile the companies have been suspended by the NAQS.
“You know smugglers, they are avoiding to pay the needed fee and to present draft of the Remita payment.
“They pay just N15 per carton but people like to avoid it.”
The UK government at the weekend returned a consignment of vegetables estimated to be about N5m include: pumpkin leaf, waterleaf, bitter leaf, local pear, garden eggs, wrapping leaf and others.
He advised the public to adhere to right procedures before engaging in agricultural produce exports.