Nigerians have been urged to increase their vegetables exports to reap from the reported shortage of vegetables in Europe.
According to a February 8 story in The Wall Street Journal, consumers in northern Europe are seeing extremely limited availability of a number of vegetables. The shortages started in December, when severe flooding and snow hit Spain’s Murcia region along the Mediterranean Sea, damaging crops and preventing farmers from planting. Spain is the primary source of vegetables for the continent during the winter.
Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute’s (ARMTI’s) Acting Executive Director Dr. Olufemi Oladunni has urged farmers to take advantage of the situation and export vegetables to Europe.
He advised them to address quality certification issues that have been a major hindrance food exporters have been facing in the European Union (EU) market.
He stressed the need to strengthen food export policy with clearly-defined safety standards, traceability norms, soil certification guidelines and good agricultural practices, saying this would boost exports of agricultural products and processed food from the country.
To avoid rejection, he said vegetables exports should be carried out only by complying with the guidelines issued by the 28-member EU bloc, adding that there should be strict monitoring and in-house certification for the export of perishable goods, and that government official should inspect farms.
Oladunni urged the government to support every effort to increase exports’ competitiveness. To attain an improved export growth trajectory, he urged the government to maximise its strengths and reduce structural bottlenecks to enhance the nation’s competitiveness
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) is striving to get the EU to lift its ban on the export of beans from Nigeria to member-countries. The agency’s Coordinating Director, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, said all hands were on deck to ensure that the EU lifts the ban before 2019.
He said the EU ban on Nigerian beans had affected the economy, adding thats there was a need to avoid future rejection of Nigeria’s agricultural commodities.