NAQS calls for harnessing agricultural, livestock potential to boost development

NAQS calls for harnessing agricultural, livestock potential to boost development

The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has called for harnessing of agricultural and livestock potential of Nigeria to enhance the foreign exchange and ensure development of the socio-economic prosperity of the nation.

Mr Vincent Isegbe, Coordinating Director, NAQS, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

‘‘The beauty of this is that during the winter (dry season), we can produce apple, strawberry, vegetable and some other commodities.

‘‘If we put our house in order, we can upscale our production because a lot of demands are coming in everyday.

‘‘Anybody that chooses to go into farming now will make good money and earn the dollar that everybody is running after.

‘‘By the time we have too much dollar in the country; it will improve our liquidity base as a country.

‘‘It will also help reduce hoarding and buying dollar at high rate,’’ he said.

Isegbe noted that NAQS was doing pest risk assessment to ensure that agricultural produce that would be exported meet the international standard.

‘‘We have done this for pigeon pea and that is what enabled the government of India to place an order for it.

‘‘We secured an offer from the Indian government to export pigeon pea worth 100 billion U.S. dollars to the country.

‘‘We want to encourage farmers to produce enough because the market is becoming excessive and wide for India because Indians can consume as more pigeon pea as we can export to them.

‘‘Everything is safe for them to export because we have done the Pest Research Assessment (PRA) and it is safe for them to export the pigeon pea from Nigeria,’’ he said.

Isegbe added that his organisation had met with officials of the government of China on sorghum and guinea corn.

He said their experts had visited all the farms the organisation marked for investigation and verification in the country.

‘‘So many farmers will be engaged, a lot of the commodities will be exported from Nigeria and we will get more dollars from agriculture instead of oil.

‘‘We will continue to do this for as many countries are interested in our commodities.

“This is because it is the mandate of NAQS to conduct survey aimed at giving comfort to any country importing our commodities.

‘‘We did the export certification value chain for 10 crops:sesame, hibiscus, vegetables, ginger, sugarcane, yam, corn, cashew, moringa and tiger nut.

‘‘We also did Export Improvement Initiative (EII) for three of the cash crops involved going to the farmers, interview them and look at crops before harvesting and give advice, Isegbe said.

‘‘We also find out who were the exporters, suppliers, producers and with details of the people involved in the value chain and owners of the warehouses where the crops will be stored.’’

‘‘We need to identify the crops that need to be frozen like vegetables and keep under temperature between 15 degree and 20 degree.

‘‘There is need for revalidation of all value chain so that if there are problems along the value chain, we will know where to fill the gaps because the world is not waiting for us.’’

He said this was also necessary to guard against any problem that may crop up in foreign countries where the crops would be exported to.(NAN)