Nigeria to begin export of zobo leaves to Mexico, says NAQS

The Coordinating Director of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr Vincent Isegbe, has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to resume the export of hibiscus (zobo leaves) to Mexico.

Dr Isegbe disclosed this during a visit to the agency by the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Marco Antonio Garcia Blanco, at the weekend in Abuja

He said that the issue of Trogoderma granarium had been resolved in collaboration with stakeholders across the value chain, paving the way for Nigeria to start trade with the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus again.

NAQS had suspended hibiscus export to Mexico following the detection of the storage pest in some hibiscus consignments from Nigeria.

Dr Isegbe said: “In a couple of weeks, we will resume shipments to Mexico. Our farmers are eager and the fields are near ready. The harvest season of hibiscus will start any moment from now. And the good news is that Nigeria boasts of a vast growing belt, with harvest lasting up to five months.’’

He pointed out the hibiscus is a very promising cash crop, as in 2017, Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of it to Mexico alone, earning $35 million within a space of nine months.

He added that Mexico and other countries use hibiscus as organic colouring agents and wines, saying dried hibiscus also serves as a delicacy while the roselles are consumed as vegetables.

Ambassador Blanco commended the NAQS for the passion to improve on Nigerian trade with Mexico.

He disclosed that with the ever-improving partnership between the NAQS and the Mexican embassy in Nigeria, his country plans to expand their import list to include cashew, sesame, soy bean, coffee and honey.

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