The President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), Dr Victor Iyama, has urged for efforts to get Nigeria out of the European Union’s (EU) ban next year.
In January 2013, EU suspended the imports of dried beans from Nigeria for one year. The ban was over the excessive use of chemicals by the nation’s farmers to control a pest, Maruca vitrata, from damaging crops on the field.
Farmers were also found to be overusing chemicals and pesticides in preserving beans, without regards to human health.
Again in mid-2015, the EU suspended the export of selected Nigerian agricultural produce into her member countries.
The ban will end next year.
Iyama said the association was working with exporters to identify the key challenges and provide possible solutions.
The major impediments include meeting food safety standards and requirement for high-quality organic products which fetch better prices and are in high demand.
He said the industry needed several interventions across the value chain, from availing land and provision of cold rooms, an export development fund as well as linkages to markets, among others.
He noted that the ban had affected the economy, adding that there was the need to avoid future rejection of agricultural commodities.
He pointed out that the association was doing its best to revert the situation.
Iyama appealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rethink its previous directive, especially its policy that compels exporters to remit dollars to the government and get paid in naira at the official exchange rate.
Reacting to the CBN’s circular on export proceeds domiciliary account, Iyama noted that though the move by the CBN was aimed at ensuring prudent use of foreign exchange resources and the elimination of the incidence of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges, among others, curtailing access of exporters to their repatriated proceeds, would in advertently limit competitiveness and hinder growth.
His words: “ the limitation of business activities of exporters goes contrary to the Federal Government’s Economic Policy on diversification in the promotion of non-oil export as this will negatively impact on the successes achieved in the agricultural sector,which Mr President holds very dearly.
Having closed both the retail and wholesale auction windows through which currency is exchanged in Nigeria and directly, all exchange transactions to be carried out through the interbank, further attempt to regulate the access and ability of domiciliary account holders to deal with their hard earned lawful proceeds amount s to an unwanted incursion into business dealing of exporters ,which is outside the scope of the CBN.”