By Biola Lawal
Lagos (Flowerbudnews): National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intensified efforts to end rejection of Nigerian food exports by strengthening collaboration with freight forwarders, Clearing Agents and Freight Consolidators at the ports.
A NAFDAC statement by Sayo Akintola, the Resident Consultant, disclosed that the Agency had successfully held discussions with critical trade groups at the ports under the theme: The role of Freight Consolidator in the Export of NAFDAC Regulated Products at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos,
The parley brought together all the major stakeholders in the ports trade at the nations ports to align with the appropriate electronic channel to obtain NAFDAC export certification.
NAFDAC DG, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye emphasised the need for collaboration of the various trade groups in the export business to put an end to rejection of food exports from Nigeria in Europe and the U.S.
Speaking at the stakeholder meeting Prof Adeyeye implored the clearing agents to propagate to the various exporters, cargo operators and handlers, the need to align with NAFDAC guidelines and its appropriate regulatory channels for export certification.
This She noted, would assist the efforts to stop to the embarrassment that rejection of food exports from Nigeria more often than not, brought to the country and the huge losses incurred by the exporters.
She noted that NAFDAC efforts were in line with the Federal Government policy on diversifying the economy through the non-oil export sector and with the policy initiative on the Presidential Enabling Business Executive Council (PEBEC),
Prof Adeyeye pointed out that NAFDAC was one of the key drivers of the noble initiative had stepped up its processes and procedures towards ensuring that all NAFDAC Regulated Products meant for Export meet the required standard acceptable at national and international markets especially with the specifications of buying country
She disclosed that this was now being done through an improved process of Documentation, Laboratory analysis, Inspection, Registration and Certification before products are exported.
The meeting with freight forwarders, freight consolidators, and clearing agents Freight Consolidators in export business was a follow-up to the one the Agency had with Pre-shipment Agents about a month ago.
The Director General, who was represented by the Head, Export Division, Ports Inspection Directorate of NAFDAC, Mrs. Oluwaseyi Sanwo-olu, called on the export stakeholders of the Agency regulated products for effective collaboration with the regulatory authority to complement its robust regulatory policies geared toward understanding the NAFDAC export processes.
The main objective was collaboration to safeguard a unified exportation procedure and zero rejects of Nigeria export products.
NAFDAC as a Governmental Agency was established by its Enabling Act Cap N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 which empowers the Agency as the competent authority in Nigeria, charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale, and use of food, drug, chemicals, and other regulated products.
Prof Adeyeye noted that the regulatory policy of the agency was geared towards the protection of consumers and promoting public health, by ensuring that regulated products were of good quality, safe, efficacious, wholesome, and accepted in the global market.
”We recognize and appreciate the role of each of the Export Facilitation Stakeholders namely: (Consolidators, freight forwarders, clearing agents, members of the Association of Nigeria Customs Licensed Agents, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF),Association of Nigeria licensed custom Agent (ANCLA),” She stated.
The National Association of Freight Forwarders and Air Consolidators (NAFFAC) etc.) here represented today as main actors in the export chain, she said, stressing that it is their obligation to sensitize and enlighten the exporters on NAFDAC processes and procedures as well.
She pointed out that by coming together, the Agency and port operators will help make the trade of the non-oil sector be better, more robust, and more consultative.
According to the NAFDAC boss, the following are the Agencys expectations from Consolidators of its regulated products.
Freight Consolidators should be well informed on the nature of the products they are handling and how to keep the products integrity intact.
Guide their clients (exporters) to always factor in, time for processing of export certification in their timeline before planning the next exportation.
Comply with documentation requirements for NAFDAC regulated products before shipment.
Have a requisite understanding of quality, safety and standards of regulated product or consignment they are handling.
A good understanding of proper handling, use of approved packaging material, group-packaging of like products.
Understand the implication of forwarding and exporting products without recourse to NAFDAC processes and procedures.
She said they must always avoid cross-contamination of products (e.g., food products, cosmetics, chemicals), adding that cool temperature that does not allow microbes to grow must be maintained.
Prof Adeyeye urged them to use quality finished and raw material, adding that they should also ensure that personnel handling processes are medically fit to avoid contamination.
She added that NAFDACs door is opened to trade, we encourage and support trade, adding that the NAFDAC Export certification channel is Customer friendly, easy to operate and timely.
According to her, the Agencys leverage is on the commitment to achieve zero export reject.
She said the Agency is sensitive to the peculiarity of export consignment at the MMIA and is willing to guide the erring exporters as well as streamline export requirements for such consignments hence the reason for relocating the Export Division of PID in NAFDAC to the newly built NAFDACs NAHCO at MMIA for easy accessibility to exporters of such consignments.
Prof Adeyeye noted that the Agency acknowledges the importance of having broader and deeper Interactions and collaborations with sister agencies such as Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) etc.
It is worth noting that all exported products that went through NAFDAC export certification process have never been rejected, she said. (Flowerbudnews)