The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) on Friday disclosed full resumption of export certification activities at the nation’s ports to reactivate agribusiness in the country as Federal Government eases lockdown in the fight against the COVID-19, pandemic.
A statement signed by the Head, Communications, and Strategies, NAQS, Gozie Nwodo, reads, “Export of agricultural produce will soon pick up and gather pace following Federal Government’s directive to the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service to fully resume its export certification duties at all ports immediately.
“The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has also issued a consequential whole-of-government directive instructing Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well state governments to cooperate with NAQS to enable a well-choreographed restoration of export traffic for the benefit of all Nigerians.”
The statement added that the lockdown announced as part of the strategy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus occasioned a hiatus in the agricultural value chain with almost all the states in the country under one form of curfew or the other coupled with the ban on interstate transportation, institutional and logistical barricades blocking human and vehicular movements, which made the passage of agricultural commodities from the remote production hotspots to the ports difficult.
“The Federal Government has granted the agency authorization to make agro-export kinetic again because of the manifest need to free all functions related to agricultural export on both the public and private sectors side from any encumbrance.
“Given the nosedive of crude prices, the spike of job losses in all continents and the slump of the global economy, it has never been more critical for Nigerian agricultural export to stand to its full height as one of the twin pillars of the Nigerian economy.
“As a responsible public service provider, NAQS has creatively adapted to the challenge of the current context. Hence, the agency will balance the consideration of professional protocols and adherence to all recommended COVID-19 safety precautions in the discharge of its statutory mandate of inspection and certification of agricultural products,” it added.