The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has said over 100 vehicles were carted away from the ministry by yet to be named officials.

Senator Lokpobiri however said the Ministry was making efforts to recover them even as he said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been engaged to go after the culprits.

Speaking when he assured of the Ministry providing project vehicles while inaugurating the 61 man National Technical Working Group(NTWG) for the Development of Global Gap Standards in Nigeria in Abuja yesterday, he said “we are recovering some of the vehicles that were taken away”

In his words, “Over a hundred vehicles were taken away from the Ministry of Agriculture by some people, we are recovering then with the help of the EFCC and they are returning them”

Speaking on the committee, the Minister said “It is pertinent to state that all agricultural and food value chain actors need sustainable access to a substantial share of the International market, noting that there are a set of strict standards known as global GAP Standards that must be adhered to.

Consequently, he said “it becomes imperative for us as a team to synergise and work towards adapting the Global GAP Standards through the NTWG. The National Technical Working Group has been put together and driven by the private sector to ensure that as a country, we access the International market optimally”.

“I want to assure the NTWG which is made up of various umbrella associations that the. Strongly behind the course of the global good agricultural practice standards”.

He urged the committee to appeal to commodities value chain actors to be honest in their business’s as it affects health and the economy.

Senator Lokpobiri gave the Group the Terms of Reference to include “Aims and Objectives/domestication of Global Gap standards, Role of Relevant Stake holders, training Programmes, workable work Plan 2017-2020, commodities for export as well as sources of funding”.

The Minister of state further directed the Coordination Director of the Nigerian Agricultural and Quarantine Service (NAQS) Dr Vincent to provide the NTWG an office space at their HQ, assuring the NAQS would also provide demonstration farms for training farmers and logistics for the establishment of plant clinics.

Also speaking, Chairman of the NTWG who said the Global GAP is an acronym for Global Good Agricultural Practice, formerly known as European Global Good Agricultural Practice aims to bring conformity to different retailers/ suppliers standards which had been creating problems to farmers.

He said “the benefits of domesticating Global GAP standards include among others, high quality and competitive agricultural produce, ensure zero rejects of Nigeria agro commodities and enhancing food security as it encourages backward integration.”

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