Oil seeds producers worried about influx of adulterated foreign vegetable oil
Members of Oil seeds Processor Association of Nigeria (OSPAN), at the weekend called on the Federal Government to immediately fortify the nation’s borders against the influx of adulterated foreign vegetable oil into Nigeria’s domestic market which is currently posing a threat to the health of Nigerians and local industry.
The National President of OSPAN, Alhaji Samaila Maigoro who address a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, said that the 43. 4 billion naira investment by more than 30 private companies in the oil seeds processing industry in the country is already under threat of being shut down unless the Federal Government and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in particular, fortify the porous borders where foreign adulterated vegetable oil are smuggled into the country.
Alhaji Maigoro said, “the challenges we are facing in the oil processing industry is the smuggling of finished vegetable oil, which is mostly contaminated and because of some changes at the borders of the customs and immigration services, there are lots of contaminated oil coming into the country,” pointing out, “ this has made us to raise this alarm.”
While lamenting the health hazard, the importation of the adulterated foreign vegetable product could pose to the nation and threat to domestic industries, OSPAN National President said the Federal Government should immediately wade into the situation.
Maigoro said: “Looking at the health challenges that it is posed by this flooding of foreign vegetable oil in the country, which is now uncontrollable, the government and policy makers must intervene to save the situation; so far there is a lot of inferior oil coming into the country as a result of this development.
“The health implication of most of these products is such that we cannot verify their source. Most of them have health challenges like the cholesterols content, contamination through the recycling of the oil some of the countries are using, and they now see Nigeria as a dumping ground. So, we are calling on the public and the policy makers to look into this direction so that they can arrest the situation.”
Maigoro argued further, “apart from that, there are lots of employment created by this industry, in terms of direct and indirect job created, which is in millions, with this development a lot of the industries have started closing their factories and this situation has affected the total performance of the industry drastically in which we are calling on government to look at critically.”
According to him, “during the Obasanjo era, there was the Vegetable Oil Development Initiative which is a programme that government created, where all the stakeholders, including the Association, the Ministry of Agriculture, NAFDAC, hold quarterly meeting and discuss extensively on the challenges of the industry and how to improve the situation therein”, saying that “after coming out with solution they rolled out a plan of action and they review it on every quarter they meet and this has helped the industry a lot and to get to where it is now.”