AWKA -The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has embarked on a technical session with beans farmers so as to increase foreign exchange in that unit of the agricultural sector of the economy.
It advised beans farmers, merchant and processors to shun the indiscriminate use of pesticide residue on dried beans and other legume crops but should imbibe Internationally accepted best practices in the storage and export of beans.
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) gave the advise during a one day training in Awka, Anambra State to enlighten the farmers on suitable storage practices of dried beans geared at addressing excessive application of chemicals in storage for export.
The program “Technical session on development of Nigerian dried beans for export and presentation of hermetic storage bags as Covid – 19 Support ” had as its theme: “Conformity to European Union (EU) and Global Market Requirements to enhance competitiveness”.
In his presentation, the Executive Director Nigerian Export Promotion Council Mr. Olusegun Awolowo said the technical session was to provide participants with practical knowledge on appropriate storage methods to address the use of harmful chemicals such as snipper in the storage of dried beans.
“This workshop will focus on Agricultural Practices, good warehousing practices and good storage practices”.
Mr. Olusegun further explained that the training was an additional effort of the Agency to reduce incidences of rejection of agricultural exports to European countries EU) and other parts of the world stressing that EU suspended the import of Nigerian dried beans due to high level of pesticide residue which was above the maximum residue level.
The Executive Director who was represented by the South East Coordinator NEPC Mr. Jackson Arnold however disclosed that the United Nation Industrial Organization (UNIDO) under the Natural Quality Infrastructure Project ( NQIP) in collaboration with Nigerian Export Protection Council (NEPC) and other relevant stakeholders had embarked on backward integration by training beans farmers on good agricultural practices and developed export guidance for merchants and exporters in the dried beans value chain.
In his remarks the Commissioner for Agriculture Anambra State Mr. Nnamdi Onukwuba represented by the Director Technical Services Mr. Emeka Okolie while emphasizing the need for food hygiene and safety, appealled to farmers to produce cowpea organically noting that there was enough indigenous materials that repel pest to yield better produce.
Earlier in his speech, the Assistant Director NEPC Mr. Afolabi Bello affirmed that international business deals with quality product which he noted made it imperative for farmers and exporters to seek quality standards for their products to be allowed into international market.
” If we don’t export, we can’t survive because we need foreign exchange” ” The essence of the training is to educate and enlighten farmers on the appropriate measures of food storage”
The Assistant Director however reminded participants that Anambra was the seventh state to benefit from the training on good storage practices for dried beans export with zero use of chemicals.
Educating farmers on Appropriate Handling of dried Beans for Export and food safety, the Executive Director, Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute Dr. Patricia Pessu, represented by the Chief Research Officer of the Institute, Lady Grace Otitodun, said the training was mandatory to give adequate information on how to tackle improper handling and undue application of chemicals to dried beans during production and after harvest.
Substantial quantities of Hermetic bags was distributed to beans Farmers and merchants to encourage them use of the bags and reduce the use of pesticides.