The Coordinating Director of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, has said that Nigeria was set to resume the export of hibiscus (zobo) to Mexico.

Dr. Isegbe made this known when the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Marco Antonio Garcia Blanco, paid him a courtesy visit at the NAQS headquarters in Abuja.

The CD of NAQS remarked that the issue of Trogoderma granarium has been resolved in collaboration with stakeholders across the value chain; paving the way for Nigeria to restart trade with the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus.

NAQS took the proactive step to suspend 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 a vast growing belt, with harvest lasting up to five months.’’

Hibiscus is a very promising cash crop. In 2017, Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone, earning $35 million within a space of nine months.

Mexico and other countries use hibiscus as organic colouring agents and wines. Dried hibiscus also serves as a delicacy while the roselle is consumed as a vegetable.

Ambassador Blanco thanked Dr. Isegbe for his passion for improving Nigerian trade with Mexico. The Ambassador disclosed that, with the ever-improving partnership between NAQS and the Mexican embassy in Nigeria, his country would actively consider expanding their import list to include cashew, sesame, soya bean, coffee and honey.