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EU bean ban hits Nigeria's farmers

Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 01:39

Already feeling the pinch from slumping oil prices and slow economic growth, Nigeria is now counting lost revenue after the European Union slammed a ban on beans exports, saying they contain a high level of unauthorized pesticide.

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Farming can be tough in Nigeria and many say it's overlooked in favour of the country's vast oil and gas industry. Even tougher if there's a European Union ban on your produce - like these beans. So why would grain seller Frank support the ban? (SOUNDBITE) (English) GRAIN SELLER, FRANK, SAYING: "Their reason is right and for me it is progress for us to put things right." The reason is pesticides. The European Food Safety Authority says Nigerian beans contain three times the maximum limit. It's also warned about its sesame seeds, melon seeds, palm oil and dried fish exports. Nigeria's export council says it's doing what it can to get food exports back to par. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIGERIA EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCIL, HENRY OTOWO, SAYING: "The ultimate goal is to establish ... a standard infrastructure that will ensure that we build trust for trade." Amid a collapse in commodity prices, oil revenues have been in decline. It's a hard knock in a country where half the population live in poverty, many on less than two dollars a day. Diversification is what's needed, say economic analysts like Liborous Oshoma. Away from oil - and with a comprehensive policy for agriculture. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ECONOMIC ANALYST, LIBOROUS OSHOMA, SAYING: ''Apart from looking at this from the revenue aspect of government, also government needs to look at it you know from the local farmers' perspectives." Food processing and export is seen as a potential growth area. First though, Nigeria needs to rebalance the trade scales. It's the world's second largest importer of rice and the biggest buyer of US wheat. At a time when much of it own fertile land lies fallow.

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EU bean ban hits Nigeria's farmers

Thursday, October 01, 2015 - 01:39