DG NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe,
By Barnabas Esiet.
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), has asked stakeholders to come together and address the weak link in the country’s cowpea value chain to enhance market access for the commodity.
Director General of NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, made the call in Abuja recently during a meeting with the President of Cowpea Association of Nigeria, Shitu Mohammed.
Dr. Isegbe urged operators in the value cha to form a network of cooperatives and embrace the principle of self-regulation.
“As those who benefit most when business is brisk, it behooves all value chain players to take the initiative to ensure that good agricultural practices suffuse the entire process of producing export-destined cowpea.” He said.
“We need to make a clean break from imprudent application of storage pesticides and consolidate a reputation for producing and delivering cowpea that satisfy relevant quality criteria.” Dr Isegbe added.
He decried the loss of foreign exchange and thousands of jobs in the country when export of cowpea or any other agricultural commodity is suspended on account of a steady trend of intolerable quality defects.
For his part, the President of Cowpea Association of Nigeria, Shitu Mohammed, identified lack of awareness as the root cause of high pesticide residue at the storage endpoint.
“Stakeholders commonly regard the liberal application of pesticides as a way to protect their produce from weevils and preserve the material value of their produce, not knowing they are effectively demarketing the produce and setting up themselves not to make profit.” Mohammed noted.