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Reps probe EU import ban on Nigerian beans

By The Citizen
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The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, resolved to investigate the European Union (EU) ban extended to the importation of dried beans by its member countries from Nigeria.

The investigation which would be carried out by the House Committees on Agriculture and that on Commerce and Industry, to unravel the reasons behind the ban by EU nations, followed the adoption of the motion sponsored by Rep. Ferdinand Nwankwo (PDP-Anambra).

Nwankwo said that in June 2015, the European Union banned the exportation of dried beans from Nigeria on the ground that the produce contained high level of pesticide considered hazardous to human health.

He said that the ban would last till June 30, 2016, to allow the Nigerian authorities time to provide an export control plan and quality assurance that dried beans meant for export complied with EU minimal risk level for hazardous substances.

The law-maker expressed concern that a few days to the expiration of the ban, the EU had extended the ban for another three years.

'Several relevant agencies of government - including the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, are said to be collaborating with each other to resolve the issue before close of the deadline', he added.

Nwankwo further said that the alleged reason for the extension was that Nigeria did not do enough to lift the ban during the period of suspension.

The law-maker expressed worry over the effect of the extended ban of importing dried beans on the Nigerian economy, especially as the current administration was focused on diversifying the economy through the export of agricultural products.

The House, in its resolution, mandated the committees to carry out the probe to submit its findings within two weeks for further legislative action.