Nigeria is losing about $362.5m yearly, in terms of foreign exchange, to the ban on exportation of dried beans by the European Union (EU) in the last eight years.
The Director General, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, who revealed this in Abuja at the inauguration of members of the Standing Committee on Agro Zero Initiative, said Nigeria was the largest producer of dried cowpea in the world, accounting for almost half of the global production.
He, however, noted that Nigeria was not among the top 10 leading exporters of dried cowpea in the world.
Recall that the EU, in January 2013, placed a temporary suspension of imports of dried beans from Nigeria for one year, due to the excessive use of chemicals by Nigerian farmers to control a pest, Maruca vitrata, from damaging crops on the field. The ban was later extended to 2022.
He pointed out that this sad paradox was essentially due to the absence of proper gatekeeping to ensure that commodities passed for export meet pesticide residue standards and other phytosanitary requirements.
Isegbe explained that lack of export quality guarantees and the resultant off-and-on pattern of the export traffic of Nigerian dried beans was costing the country a whooping $362.5m yearly.
He stressed the need for Nigeria to restore conventional export control measures at all points of entry to optimise its comparative advantage in agricultural commodities and diversify the economy.