The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has expressed concern about the high rate of rejections of food exports from Nigeria. She pointed out that agricultural commodities exported from Nigeria in the first nine months of 2022 generated N427.6 billion ($1.02 billion), but about 82 percent of Nigeria’s agricultural products illegally exported were seized by European Union countries.
In response to this issue, pre-shipment inspection agents have pledged to collaborate with regulatory agencies to address the rejection of Nigerian food exports through a unified exportation procedure. NAFDAC has decided to extend its collaboration with critical stakeholders in the nation’s ports to find lasting solutions to this challenge.
During a consultative meeting with pre-shipment inspection agents, a representative of NAFDAC highlighted the agency’s concern that it was not involved in the screening and certification of exported goods, despite being a competent authority in food safety testing. The agency emphasized the importance of collaboration with sister agencies such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ensure a unified exportation procedure and zero rejection of Nigerian export products.
Adeyeye emphasized that the regulation of the export sector is essential to ensure that products leaving the country meet international standards in terms of quality and safety. She listed reasons for export rejection, including technical barrier issues, defective packaging and inadequate labeling, non-documentation, unauthorized transition, illegal importation, and non-compliance with destination markets’ standards.
The European Union authorities, in particular, reject food consignments that do not comply with their maximum residue limits (MRLs) for veterinary medicine and pesticides, as well as maximum limits (MLs) for contaminants in foods. Adeyeye highlighted the significance of trade for Nigeria’s economy, noting that in 2021, Nigeria exported $57.7 billion worth of goods, making it the world’s 52nd most exporting country.