Action has been taken by the federal government and other relevant stakeholders in the agriculture sector to stop farmers and retailers from using Sniper pesticide to preserve beans.
The development was prompted by media reports that some retailers were using the dangerous chemical substance to preserve beans which is widely eaten by most Nigerians.
To find a lasting solution to dangerous practice, the federal government and the major stakeholders plan to develop a National Pesticide Policy, which will spell out measures to address the use of harmful chemicals on grains.
At a meeting with heads of agencies and other stakeholders in Abuja yesterday, the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, called on them to join hands with the government to tackle the menace.
Ogbeh said that the meeting was called to brainstorm on the way forward on the wrong usage of chemicals on agriculture produce.
The minister, who hinted that the government was working towards creating an Agricultural Agency called AIMS, expressed the hope that it would create permanent solutions to the challenges of food poisoning.
According to him, “the agency will consist a minimum of three distributors of agriculture inputs’ agents in every local government, so we can advise and teach them what not to sell, and what to sell or the risk of marketing certain products people sell either knowingly or unknowingly that is harmful to the community.
“Once they are in place, all marketers and producers of chemicals will be told clearly what not to market. Let’s find an urgent solution to this. The quickest thing to do is to begin to spread the information, because we need to do more aggressive work because food must not become our poison,” he said.
The coordinating director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, who sought the cooperation of the relevant agencies in the sector to address the use of insecticide on grains generally, said that the decision on National Pesticide Policy became necessary following the information that has already gone viral on the reported use of Sniper chemical by retailers to preserve beans.
He said: “The issue of Sniper beans is something we need to address quickly, but the challenge is that everyone is needed, because people who are storing, selling, and buying this beans are involved.
“The NAQS has done a lot of adverts and stakeholders’ meeting but we have not done enough in passing the message to the masses, that’s why I’m enjoining other critical stakeholders to join us to do mass mobilisation of farmers and sellers.
“We need to work together, we are just at the export desk and whatever is available at the national market affects the export market. We are working to ensure that whatever is produced at the local market is also safe for the export market,” he said.
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