The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe has revealed the Federal Government is collaborating with relevant stakeholders in the agricultural sector to brainstorm on ways to stop the use of harmful chemicals to preserve food.
The collaboration became unavoidable after a video showing a man using sniper, a chemical used to kill rodent to preserve beans went viral.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja, Ogbe said there is a plan by the federal government to embark on a nationwide sensitization in order to discourage such habit adding that such habit is capable of wiping out an entire community.
Speaking further at the stakeholders’ meeting, the minister said, “There are people who use carbide to ripen mangoes and bananas. They use aluminum phosphate to control weevils in beans.
“We have challenges in preserving chicken which has led to people smuggling injected chickens into the country which look nice.
“Even when they are seized and buried by the Nigerian Customs, people still dig them out and eat.
“We have to develop a very strong strategic committee for reaching farmers, buyers and sellers on the dangers.
“I hear that people use a chemical meant to kill mosquitoes to drive away flies from fish, principally because they don’t know the health implications.
“We have to devise a means to collectively tackle it. No human being is safe in such an environment like this.
“When they cook the beans you don’t know where it comes from. And some people even use cow dung to smoke the fish.
“We must begin to spread the information as fast as possible.”
Also present at the meeting was the Coordinating Director of Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe. He assured work is going on to effect a National Pesticides Policy which according to him will be able to tackle the problem.
“It is a painful reflection as a country. It is something that we need to address. The problem is that we do not have the national pesticides policy.
“In developed countries, people won’t be allowed to sell such things without the policy guiding them,” he added.