Nigeria, Mexico sign $3bn plant export deal


Muhammadu BuhariThe Federal Government, through the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, on Thursday said it had signed an agreement with its Mexican counterpart to increase the export of hibiscus from Nigeria to Mexico.

It said the deal would provide an annual revenue of $3bn to Nigeria.

It, however, revealed that the United States rejected two containers of hibiscus exported from Nigeria due to the failure of the exporter to obtain the required export certificates from the NAQS.

In his keynote address at the 4th Summit and Management Retreat of the NAQS, the agency’s Comptroller General, Dr Vincent Isegbe, noted that notwithstanding the challenges associated with the export of agricultural produce, agro-export intensification would help Nigeria to boost its overall agricultural productivity.

“It will help to generate sustainable wealth, and improve household incomes among the large swath of the 70 per cent of our population that are engaged in agriculture and agro-allied industries,” he stated.

On the deal with Mexico, he said, “Last month, on November 4, to be precise, NAQS and its Mexican counterpart body, SENASICA, signed a phytosanitary protocol to stabilise and grow the export of Nigerian hibiscus flowers (zobo) to Mexico.

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“The framework is designed to future-proof bilateral trade in hibiscus between Nigeria and the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus against avoidable disruptions. With the signing of the hibiscus work plan, Nigeria will earn $3bn annually from exporting hibiscus to Mexico.”

Asked if there had been any rejection of agro-exports from Nigeria recently while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the summit, Isegbe replied, “Yes. In fact, the one that happened last week was because somebody exported hibiscus to the US and there was no certification.

“He did not carry any document, did not pass through the quarantine service and those consignments have been returned. We have intercepted the consignments; we are looking for who the owner is and the person is yet to report.”

He said the agency recently met with the freight forwarders association to urge the council to ensure that all agents who deal with the quarantine service are registered by the council.

He added, “This is to avoid fake clearing and forwarding agents, who may not necessarily inform the original owners or exporters of those products.”

Isegbe said the agency was currently investigating how the exporter was able to ship the consignments without the customs and quarantine services knowing.

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