The National Agency for Food and Drug and Control (NAFDAC) has organised an enlightenment campaign of stakeholders in Kaduna on proper use of pesticides in agricultural produce storage.
The aim is to help boost international trade, food security and prevent health implications associated with the inappropriate usage of pesticides.
Speaking at the occasion, which was organised in collaboration with Croplife, the Director General, NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye, said health risks arising from exposure of farmers, aggregators and marketers when handling, mixing and applying pesticides or working in treated fields and from residues on food as a result of inappropriate application was on the increase.
“Pesticides are commonly used in most sectors in the agricultural production chain to prevent or reduce losses due to pest infestation and improve yield as well as quality of the produce. Pests are known worldwide for their devastating effect on agricultural practices and food security, therefore the use of crop protection products (CPPs) becomes imperative to ensure availability of food.
“NAFDAC has the statutory role to regulate and control pesticides in Nigeria as mandated by the Act setting up the Agency. The NAFDAC Act CAP N1 LFN 2004 mandates the Agency to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, packaged water, chemicals and detergents (collectively known as regulated products).’’
She said NAFDAC was a member of various international regulatory authorities such as Stockholm Convention, Rotterdam Convention and Codex Alimentariaus Commission which ensured that toxic pesticides that have been banned were not granted marketing authorization and also not permitted entry into Nigeria.
She said the agency was in serious engagements with some ministries, agencies and stakeholders on the need to streamline the alleged over regulation of the pesticides in agrochemical industry one of which was the creation of Veterinary Medicine and Allied products (VMAP) Directorate tasked with the responsibility of regulating pesticides and agrochemicals and other agro-inputs such as animal feeds.
She recalled the ban on the importation of agricultural produce (beans) from Nigeria by EU due to the high pesticide residue beyond the maximum residue limit (MRL) permissible and also the recent viral video on social media on the application of DDVP on beans by grain merchants which she said have underscored the dire need for the sensitization.
She said, the agency has keyed into the Federal Government’s policy on the ease of doing business by automating its permit for bulk importation adding that it was in the process of full automation of its registration processes.
Also speaking President, CropLife, Mahmood Tauhid, said his organization realized that many inappropriate pesticides were being brought into the country and sold to unsuspecting farmers.
He advocated for a synergy between NAFDAC and CropLife to improve crop production in the country by educating farmers on the right type of pesticide to apply on their crops.