By Muhammad Auwal
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has banned the use of methyl bromide as fumigant in Nigeria.
The agency announced this in a statement signed on behalf of the Director General, Mrs Mojisola Adeyeye, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
“This is sequel to the new requirement of the government of some countries, such as Mexico and India, that methyl bromide must be used as fumigant on the agricultural produce being exported to their countries.
“In exercising of her mandate as entrenched in NAFDAC Act Cap No.1 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, we wish to draw the attention of farmers, exporters of agricultural produce, agro-dealers and the general public to the ban on methyl bromide use as a fumigant in Nigeria,’’ it said.
It added that exposure may occur during fumigation activities and that studies in human had indicated that the lung may be severely injured by the acute (short-term) inhalation of methyl bromide.
According to NAFDAC, acute and chronic (long-term) inhalation of methyl bromide can lead to a neurological effect in humans.
It said that the use of methyl bromide was banned by Montreal Protocol 1987 due to its effect on ozone layer depletion property and had continued to receive critical uses exemption from other countries since 1987.
The agency says it has implemented the ban because Nigeria is a signatory to the protocol.
It added that its database showed that methyl bromide had not been registered nor issued on permits for importation and use since the ban.
NAFDAC called on farmers, agro-input dealers and exporters of agricultural produce to use alternative pesticides that were cheaper, safer and more effective.
It also urged the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to look into the mandatory requirement of methyl bromide fumigants as a critical issue which could bring impediment and injuries to human and the environment.