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Business News of Saturday, 21 October 2023


NAQS tackles agricultural produce export challenges with digital certification

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To fast-track the process and the quality of Nigerian agricultural produce meant for export to other countries, the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has initiated the electronic issuance of phytosanitary certificates to exporters to address the sector’s challenges.

A phytosanitary certificate is an official document issued by governments to confirm that shipments of plant or agricultural products traded internationally are free of pests and diseases, and therefore, safe to import.

Before now, there were complaints by other countries of the destination of farm produce exported from Nigeria of them being infected by pests, even as the long process of securing phyto certificate from the NAQS by exporters, affects the quality of those produce by the time they get to the country of consumption.

Experts, who gathered at the official launch of the IPPC GeNS E-Phyto platform in Lagos, where exporters can go to fill in the needed information on the platform on the produce they are exporting and secure an inspection appointment with NAQS, said that this development would also be expected to enhance government revenue from the agricultural sector.

Speaking on the Generic ePhyto National System (GeNS) in Nigeria, at the programme, a representative of the Alliance for Trade Facilitation, Bernard Tayor, said, the transition from traditional paper-based certificates to digital ones is a leap towards modernisation, efficiency, and sustainability.

Tayor noted that this transition is germane following addressing various complaints of other countries of farm produce exported from Nigeria.

According to him, “Today’s equipment handover and demonstration symbolises more than just a technological upgrade, it represents a commitment to transparency, efficiency, and the facilitation of trade. It is a demonstration of shared dedication to ensuring that Nigerian agricultural exports meet international standards globally and are competitive, having saved cost and time in processing.”

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, he said, is proud to partner with NAQS in this endeavour, saying, through collaboration, “we have strived to equip Nigeria with the tools and knowledge necessary to enhance its trade competitiveness, strengthen its economic resilience, and safeguard its agricultural sector.”

The digitalisation of phytosanitary certificates, he stressed, will streamline processes, reduce paperwork, minimise errors, and enhance the traceability of agricultural products, even as it is expected to improve the ease of doing business and bolster Nigeria’s reputation as a reliable trading partner on the global stage.

Together, we are building a more efficient, transparent, and resilient trade ecosystem, we are transforming the landscape of international trade facilitation, he noted.

Also speaking at the programme, the Zonal Coordinator of the South-West Zonal Command, NAQS, Dr. Joy Ivbade, applauded the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT), GIZ and the World Economic Forum for assisting NAQS in acquiring the gadgets needed for the smooth running of the GeNS platform.

Speaking on behalf of the Comptroller General, NAQS, (Dr Vincent Isegbe, said: ‘I would also like to recognise the role of Global Alliance, who coordinated several meetings between the NAQS and other stakeholders, guiding through the business process analysis and training in using and managing the GeNS.