NIGERIA - The European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS has refuted reports that the EU has banned the import of agricultural products from Nigeria.
It however noted that the import suspension measure, which has been misconstrued, affected only dried beans.
The Head of Trade and Economic Section of the EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Filippo Amato, made this clarification in an email to THISDAY on Tuesday, wherein he added that some other agricultural products had occasionally been rejected at the EU borders due to high level of pesticides, which is dangerous for human health.
He lamented that the suspension measure adopted in June, 2015 had been wrongly reported and had created confusion and uncertainly for exporters who can continue to export to the EU as long as there is compliance with applicable food requirements.
Amato added that notice was given to Nigerian authorities before the suspension, which would be in place till June 2016, until substantial guarantees are provided that adequate official control systems have been put in place to ensure compliance with food law requirements.
The statement read in part: “The reason for the import suspension measure of dried beans is that since January 2013 more than 50 rejections have been recorded at the EU border in relation to this product originating from Nigeria, nearly all of them reporting the presence of the unauthorised pesticide dichlorvos at levels largely exceeding the acute reference dose tentatively established by the European Food Safety Authority.
“This represents a rate of rejections of more than 70 per cent of dried beans coming from Nigeria in the last two and a half years.
This is why the European Commission considered that the import of this specific product would present a serious risk for human health that could not be addressed satisfactorily by simply continuing to reject further shipments of these products.
“In order to allow the time necessary for Nigeria to provide feedback and to consider the appropriate risk management measures, the suspension of imports of dried beans applies until 30 June 2016.
If the European Commission considers that sufficient guarantees have been provided by the Nigerian authorities before the expiry of this deadline, exports of dried beans to the EU can resume as of July 2016,” it added.