…as AviaCargo committee visits Laboratories
Posted by Sade Williams
In a bid to streamline export of agricultural commodities and finished priducts, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NADFAC) said it has entered into an agreement with the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).
Speaking during the visit of members of the AviaCargo Roadmap committee to the Agency, Dr Charles Nwachukwu, who is in charge of NAFDAC central laboratory, said the two agencies have held several meetings on how exporters and farmers can have the best certification.
“I am in charge of NAFDAC central laboratory, which is in charge of foods and chemicals. I am going to speak the mind of the DG on this issue of rejected produce from Nigeria. The DG of NAFDAC is seriously concerned about the rejection of our commodities in Europe and in every part of the world. I am glad that NAQS is here. There are series of meetings that is ongoing to streamline export of agricultural commodities and finished product outside this country. And these meetings have been held bilaterally and in the presence of the director general of NAFDAC, and the Comptroller General, NAQS and their interest is to see how they can streamline things.
“What we have to issue with is the various certification that is required. We are ready to partner with anybody to grow the Nigerian system, whether it is in the interest of export or health. We have been involved and we are seriously involved. One of the criteria we are using, is that we want to encourage exporters to have a good certification. There is nowhere in the world they have rejected the certificate of NAFDAC because we have one of the best labs in Africa. NAFDAC have about 7 laboratories and 5 of them are concerned with food. This place is a center of excellence and we have one of the best facilities in the lab. And we are improving on the laboratory equipment that are available.
“In recent times, in one of our meetings with NAQS, we told them to issue phytosanitary certificate. But phytosanitary certificate may not go into the contaminants that are necessary for a healthy food to ne transported from here to wherever that it is being exported to, and NAFDAC does that by issuing clean certificate of health. And both certificates can be acceptable anywhere in the world.
The same thing happens when products are being imported into this country. You submit your certificate of analysis which will contain sanitary analysis inspection report and health certificate.
So, we are not undermining the activity of anybody, so the much we can do to streamline the system to ensure that those who are exporting do not have to spend so much money and so much time, that is concern of the two agencies.”, he said.
Nwachukwu added that NAFDAC is offering laboratory services for export products free of charge adding that the export rejects have been a major concern between the two agencies, “that is why we are trying to see what we can do to avoid those rejects”.
“The committee of the two agencies, NAFDAC and NAQS are working out an MoU to streamline the process of certification, that is the passion of the director general NAFDAC and Comptroller General NAQS. At the moment NAFDAC offers laboratory services for export products free of charge. The export reject has been a concern between the two agencies and that is why we are trying to see what we can do to avoid those rejects.”, he added.
Earlier in his address, the coordinator of, Aviacargo Committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko, said part of the reasons for visiting the lab was to understand the processes agro-products in the country pass through to get certified before they are exported abroad.
“We need to be number one in Africa, in a hurry for the simple fact that we have the largest economy in Africa, we have busy airports many products, and the biggest population, we want to be the hub for cargo movements in West Africa”.