Bean Growers, Stakeholders Want Ban Lifted

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Sandra Ukele

Stakeholders and beans growers have condemned the ban of  beans  by Nigeria to European Union (EU) countries, saying  the ban should be lifted. The EU  had in June 2015 expressed concern over the high pesticides used in processing the beans before export, which it  said was  harmful to consumers, who are mainly Nigerians in the Diaspora, hence the ban for one year in the first instance.

Speaking at a sensitisation workshop in Abuja  organised by the EU mission to Nigeria in collaboration with the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), NAFDAC and all other relevant ministries, agencies and departments in Nigeria, stakeholders protested the ban, saying it was  politically motivated.

Paper presentations on integrated pest management, storage, awareness and quality assurance elicited reactions and interventions by many participants, who disagreed with the position of the EU.

The workshop coordinated by Dr. Vincent Isegbe, of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), threw up some issues regarding enlightening Nigerian farmers and people to international best practices, and the need to educate large illiterate practitioners in local languages, by ensuring that inputs into agricultural and extension services really gets to those who matter and not the “Abuja farmers”.

While the EU suggested building capacity training for bean growers and their workers so as  to provide sustainable benefits along the value chain, Nigerians participants, on the other hand, said  they appreciated the training proposal but faulted the ban as hasty and ill conceived.

Ironically, participants noted that most of the pesticides blamed for the degrading of the beans are imported from the EU countries. They argued that since the majority of beans growers and processors adopt international best practices, the proper and genuine step to solving the impasse is for the EU to lift the ban, while concerted efforts are intensified to improve on the application of pesticides and other chemicals to ensure that International best practices are sustained.

Nigerian operators noted that since there have not been any reported cases of consumers dying from the consumption of Nigerian grown beans locally or abroad, the way to go was interactive engagement mutually beneficial in correcting any perceived process flaw.