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Quarantine agency resumes certification of food for expert

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The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has been instructed by the Federal Government to fully resume certification of produce and agro-allied products for export as part of the strategy to open up the economy for a speedy recovery from the sleeping mode caused by COVID-19 lockdown.

The directive was issued on Friday, according to a statement made available to journalists by the head of Communications, Gozie Nwodo.

Nwodo disclosed that the government gave the directive to the service to revive all functions related to agricultural exports through both the public and private sector operators.

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NAQS runs with the mandate of certifying agro-allied products for an expert through the enforcement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures for animals, aquaculture and crops.

Mr Vincent Isegbe, who is the Director-General of the agency, said, “Export of agricultural produce will soon pick up and gather pace as a result.”

Isegbe clarified that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) issued directives instructing ministries, departments, agencies and state governments to cooperate with NAQS to enable a well “choreographed restoration” of export traffic.

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The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company PLC (NAHCO Aviance), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies are to work with NAQS and stakeholders facilitate agricultural exports.

It will be recalled that cocoa and cashew exporters in particular and other commodity exporters, in general, have lamented the inability to export the products, weight loss challenges in post-harvest storage and interruption of cash flow in the agro-economic sector.

The agency, therefore, expressed the optimism that the economy would become more buoyant through exports, which, in turn, would improve incomes and businesses of actors along the value chains of the commodities.

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