Following the rejection of cowpea also called beans exported to other countries from Nigeria the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, and Cowpea Association of Nigeria, CAN, move to control pesticides application on preservation and storage of the commodity before export.
The Director, NAQS, Dr Vincent Isgebe, noted that the way and manner of chemicals applied to preserve the commodity should done according to international best practices.
This director’s reaction was contained in a statement issued by the Head Media, Communications and Strategies, Dr. Gozie Nwodo.
Isegbe made the assertion during an engagement with the President of CAN, Shittu Mohammed in Abuja, where he pointed out that exporters of the commodity and dealers back home should take to what the agency is giving them as guidelines that would help them access the international market.
He further stated that with the wrong application of pesticides on exported beans that resulted in rejection by importing countries, Nigeria has lost huge foreign exchange including thousands of jobs traceable to a steady trend of intolerable quality defects.
He said: “The pattern of boom and bust in cowpea export owes to the ingrained issue of high pesticide residue. The pesticides are largely introduced during the storage phase.
“The residue levels in the cowpea tend to rise above the maximum threshold set by certain customs union and this makes the product unacceptable in crucial destinations.
“We need to make a clean break from imprudent application of storage pesticides and consolidate a reputation for producing and delivering cowpea that satisfy relevant quality criteria.”
Meanwhile, he (Isegbe) charged stakeholders in the cowpea value chain to work out ways to improve their capacity in terms of a network of cooperatives that would make strong self-regulation in order to ensure activities of members meet the standard requirements by regulatory agencies within and outside the country.
He also added that with strict adherence and monitoring by members of the cooperative would make huge profits because of meeting required international standards, which players in the cowpea industry are to take the initiative for the entire process of producing export-destined cowpea.
Earlier speaking, the President, CAN, Shitu Mohammed, highlighted basic challenges which include lack of awareness as major cause of high pesticide residue at the storage endpoint.
Mohammed also explained that what his members do in preserving the commodity called liberal application of pesticides is to protect and prevent penetration by weevils.
“They didn’t know that they were effectively demarketing the produce and setting up themselves not to make profit.
“The intervening period in which cowpea export has been at low ebb has given stakeholders a light-bulb moment.
“They are now ready to adapt. Everyone is eager to go organic so that stability, momentum and growth can return to the value chain”, he stated.