The President, Association of Hibiscus Flower Exporters of Nigeria (AHFEN), Tunji Lawal, has noted that the ban placed by the Mexican Government on export of Hibiscus flower from Nigeria to the country has not been lifted.
He disclosed this in Lagos during a recent media briefing.
According to him, the development was affecting his members negatively.
He noted that many farmers depended on cultivation of the product for survival.
He revealed that Nigeria was yet to resume hibiscus export to Mexico after about of 1,983 containers worth $35 million in nine months were initially exported in 2017.
Lawal, who further stated the ban from Mexico came as a result of detection of storage pest in some consignments from Nigeria.
Lawal, who also commended efforts by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) at ensuring that the ban was lifted, said it would still take some time before Nigeria would be re-certified to begin export of the commodity.
According to him: “To get the ban lifted, the Mexican government gave us some strict work plans which the NAQS has been working with. The work plan is still in process. It is almost done but not done yet.
“We hope that it should be lifted, but as it is now, it will take some time because the process has to go with them being sure that our quality parameters are well set as required in their work plan.
“If this is met, they are going to probably supervise to ensure that things are well done. They will require us to send some trial shipment to them, where it will be certified after a while.
“Before they will give the approval to ship. This will take us sometime into 2019. Looking at the reality, it will take us into April and May, 2019 to get it resolved. As it is the ban has not been lifted.
“We are praying that things are done fast between the NAQS and the authorities that are equivalent to NAQS in Mexico known as The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).
“Once SAGARPA is satisfied the ban will be lifted. We are all struggling; a lot of workers have lost their jobs. We are hoping this will sort it out. Losses of last season prompted the farmers not to go to farm.
“A huge loss where those involved in the business cannot pay for their children’s school fees.
“It is a terrible thing that happened to the business, coupled with the fact that floods affecting most of their farms. Because of the ban, a lot of farmers have lost their jobs and many in the value chain are idle at the moment.”
In his remarks, the Vice President, Femi Akinwumi, said the ban affected not only the exporters, but also the farmers whom he noted suffered a drop in production as they could not sell at the right price.
He also stated that the Governors of the affected states (Katsina, Jigawa and others) have made efforts to ensure that the ban was lifted to ensure that famers receive benefits.