The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) says more investments are needed to stimulate research on endemic pest diseases, improve its equipment base and strengthen expertise.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, the Director General of the agency, said this at the 31st Technical Consultation among Regional Plants (TC-RPPOs) in Abuja.
He said that such measure would give room for improvement in the country’s plant quarantine environment.
Isegbe represented by Dr Abiodun Akinjo, the Director, Animal Quarantine of the service said the agency was engaging key decision makers, who would be involved in extensive researches of these pests and diseases to enable farmers be well enlightened on their effects on agriculture.
The DG, who identified plant health as central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) however noted that plant pests and diseases represented the foremost obstacles to achieving SDGs.
Isegbe said the Regional Plant Protection Organisations must (RPPOs) collectively strive to address the threats posed by old and emerging pests and diseases to human civilisation.
“The way forward is synergy. The relative ease of international travels in modern times make it imperative for RPPOs to show more than passive interest in threats rearing up in other jurisdiction.
“This is because no region can rest assured that it is impermeable to some new pest aggressively wreaking havoc halfway around the world.
“RPPOs and NPPOs with advanced capabilities and import quality criteria should make it a point of duty to assist their fledgling counterparts to adopt culture of best practices in order to foster international trade,” he advised.
Isegbe said that as the NPPOs for Nigeria, NAQS was proud of government’s commitment to improving plant quarantine services across the nation.
He said that as part of Federal Government’s commitment, President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 assented to the NAQS Bill that institutionalised its autonomy as a department under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
“The agency as part of its strategy to scale up national plant health and infrastructure to the proportion of our present and potential needs, established six plants health clinics in six administrative quarantine zones across the nation.’’