To reduce rejection of the country’s produce in the international market, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), has provided revised guidelines for exporters of the commodities.
Spokesman for NAQS, Dr Chigozie Nwodo, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, that Nigerian agro-commodities are rejected abroad, because exporters were not following the guidelines, and are also smuggling consignments that were not meant for export.
Highlighting the guidelines, Nwodo was quoted: “the sanitary must be in accordance with the conditions on the import permit of the destination country. The exporter must submit the items for inspection and certification by NAQS, and obtain the applicable certificate prior to shipment.
“The produce intended for export must be free of harmful organisms or toxic substances, and all information required in the sanitary/ phytosanitary certificate must be provided legibly in print. Forgery and alteration of certificate will render the certificate invalid and make products subject to rejection.”
Nwodo also said: “Any alteration in the date on the certificate, type of consignment, weight and volume of consignment, and authorised signature on the certificate renders it invalid, as certificate with mutilated particulars is unacceptable.”
He added that wrong labelling is another obstacle, because the information on the label of the cargo must be descriptive of the exact contents of the cargo, as indicated in the sanitary and phytosanitary certificates.
He continued: “Concealment of strange agro-produce in a consignment of certified commodity, concealment of an uncertified agricultural item in the consignment of a certified produce earns total rejection.
“Improper export procedure, certain products require the exporter to give the NAQS advance notification of country to which export is intended.
“Exporting prohibited items are not accepted because some countries prohibit the export of certain agricultural items. Cargo of products on the prohibition list of the destination is liable to rejection at the port of entry,” Nwodo said.
Other guidelines are absence of additional declaration; some countries require declarations like date of harvest, place of harvest, whether there are any special handling precautions in addition to the sanitary/phytosanitary certificate.
“Use of unapproved fumigants, the detection of residues of unapproved fumigants in the produce intended for export may constitute basis for rejection of the cargo.”
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