The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service is optimistic that the European Union (EU) will remove the ban on some Nigerian produce exported to European countries soon.

Beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, fried fish, meat and peanut chips are some of the over 50 items exported from Nigeria that the EU banned due to high concentration of chemicals used as preservative.

The Coordinating-Director of the service, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday that the agency and other relevant government agencies were working to ensure the removal of the three-year ban in the first quarter of 2018.

The presidency had set up an inter-ministerial committee on zero-reject of the country’s agricultural produce to the international markets in 2016 and the committee.

Members of the committee are to look into issues that led to the suspension at the first instance and what caused the extension of the ban as well as to find solution to the problem.

“The committee, comprising the service, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Federal Ministry of Health, among others, has made progress so far,’’ he observed.

“Excess agricultural produce is meant to be exported since we are diverting from oil to agriculture.

“The main objective is that whatever goes out of this country should not return to us either inform of rejection of low standard quality.

“The three years ban will expire in 2019 but we are working round to ensure the ban is lifted in 2018,” he said.

The EU, in June 2015, suspended the importation of the grains and other food products to member states till June 2016 but later extended it to three years starting from 2016.