NEPC reviews strategy on products’ rejection in export markets
According to reports from the Rapid Alert System for Foods and Feed (RAFF) of the European Union import regulatory agency, alarming statistics on poor quality food items exported from Nigeria to the European market revealed non-compliance to standards from the country between 2013 and 2015.
The Executive Director, NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, cited the report as stating that 44 Nigerian exporting companies’ products suffered rejections at various EU international markets due to traces of complex contaminants such as aflatoxin, dichlorvos, cyhalothrin among others.
The NEPC boss who was represented by the Head, Market Development Department, NEPC, Matthew Iranloye during an export mentorship programme at the weekend, said as a result of this debacle, the council in partnership with an indigenous export consulting firm, Multimix Academy Limited, organised a workshop to provide a platform to educate and demonstrate to potential exporters the pathway to export business.
He added that the exercise is expected to help position Nigerians in a vantage point to harness the abundant resources available in the country through engagement in export business as a career.
He noted that the recent pronouncement of ban on import of selected food items from Nigeria by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) strengthens the justification for the initiative.
He said Nigeria as a major producer and exporter of commodities, including solid minerals, has tremendous potential in non-oil export that could enhance foreign exchange earning of the country through export of value added products to the global market in view of high demand in Europe, America and Asia.
He stated the need of a well articulated mentorship programme to hand-hold beginners has become critical and justified, given the growing concern on food safety, health and environmental issues in global exports and the critical issues of stringent import requirements.
He said as a result of this, the council has carefully selected an array of seasoned exporters who are successful in non-oil export business to make presentations and nurture prospective exporters through the up-coming export programme in cashew and cashew products, processed food products among others.
He pointed out that the council is determined to build on today’s workshop through the proposed coordinated follow-up mentorship programme to flag-off a new dawn in the export sector that will see the launching of well-trained mentees to succeed in non-oil export business.
“The council will monitor and evaluate the progress of each mentees to ensure that these symbiotic relationships will metamorphose into export realities,” he added.
Also, the Controller, NEPC, Lagos Zonal Office, George Enyiekpon, said while the council recognises the necessity for continued technical support, through capacity building of Nigerian non-oil exporters, the emergence of export mentorship programme on its priority operating strategy reflects the depth of seriousness it attaches to standards and quality issues in packaging non-oil products for the international market.
“While we welcome the timeliness of this programme and despite the promising gains we have made in the non-oil export front, challenges still abound”, he added.