FG moves to meet EU foods’ standards to get unbanned before June 2016.

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The Federal Government is currently working to meet European Union’s standards for it to lift the suspension on the country’s dried beans export, Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Rufus Ebegba has said.

Ebegba over the weekend noted that relevant agencies of the federal government including Trade and Investment ministry were already working closely to ensure the anomaly was corrected ahead of the June 2016 deadline

The EU had in June 2015 suspended beans from Nigeria over high levels of pesticides which is dangerous to human health. Nigeria is thus expected to provide “substantial guarantees that adequate official control systems have been put in place to ensure compliance with food law requirements’’ before June when the EU sanction will laps

“The Federal Government is a very large family; however, everybody has to work together to ensure the Change Agenda of the present administration becomes a reality.
“I am optimistic that the country will enhance its productivity and correct the earlier mistakes that led to the ban,’’ he said.
For a way forward for the country’s agricultural exports, Ebegba emphasised the need for collaboration between regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to put in place a quality control framework to enhance acceptability of the country’s crops in the international market.
He said it was the responsibility of the new agency, which is six months old, to educate Nigerians on modern biotechnology.
According to him, the NBMA will ensure safe practice of the Genetically Modified (GM) technology among farmers in the country.
“As a regulatory body, what we do is to ensure unbiased treatment and make sure that the new technology does not have any negative impact on humans and the environment.
“We are trying to convince Nigerians and farmers to embark on this new technology in order to boost our economy through agriculture.
“The agency through its sensitisation programmes organised seminars and workshops across the three geo-political zones even before the bill was passed into law to campaign for its passage and create awareness among farmers.
“We are working towards translating our handbills and pamphlets into the three major languages of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba for easy understanding among rural farmers,’’ he said.
The NBMA also allayed the fears in some quarters that GM crops had adverse effects on human health.
Describing the fear about GM crops as unfounded, Ebegba advised Nigerians to embrace the technology which, he said, was safe and economically viable.
He assured farmers that the NBMA would carry out risk assessments and analyses on GM seedlings to ensure that they were environmentally friendly and safe for consumption before they are released to them.

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