By Asmau Ahmad
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is soliciting the cooperation of stakeholders and the general public to rid the country of hazardous pesticides.
The agency’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said this in a statement issued to newsmen by its resident media consultant, Mr. Olusayo Akintola, on Sunday in Abuja.
According to her, pesticides are applied both indoors and outdoors for the management of pests, vector-borne diseases, and crop protection.
Adeyeye said pesticides are sometimes impregnated in textiles, paints, carpets, and treated wood to control pests and fungi.
She said what was worrisome was the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides as it affected food safety and food security.
Prof. Adeyeye said the dangers posed by pesticides were of immense concern to the agency and that there had been recent concerns from stakeholders about the situation.
“The report of the study conducted by Heinrich Boll Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, claimed that 40 per cent of pesticides used in Nigeria had been banned in the EU.
“There was also an alert received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, cautioning on the possibility that the European Union and the United Kingdom were exporting banned neonicotinoid pesticides to Nigeria and other poorer countries.
“Emphasis was placed on chlorpyrifos and its variants due to their harmful effects on humans, animals, beneficial insects, and the environment.
“The mandate of NAFDAC, as established by Act Cap N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, is to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale, and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, detergent and others.
“This necessitated the review and analysis of the list of registered pesticide and agrochemical active ingredients in the NAFDAC Registered Product Automated Database vis-à-vis actives banned, non-approved.
“The outcome of the review was shared with stakeholders at a three-day virtual stakeholders’ engagement held on November 22, 24 and 29, 2022,” she stressed.
Adeyeye said the core function of the agency of safeguarding the health of the nation was so paramount to the agency.
She disclosed that the reviewed meeting focused much on the proposed phase-out/ban of these active ingredients and it had in attendance, proponent holders of marketing authorisations and NGOs.
Others, she mentioned in the statement, were the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), CropLife Nigeria, Nigeria Agro-Input Dealers Association, ministries, departments and agencies, as well as research institutes.
According to her, at the end of the meeting, it was agreed that pesticide and agrochemical importers and manufacturers would be advised to institute stewardship plans such as post-marketing surveillance and research in their companies.
Adeyeye stated that NAFDAC would collaborate with research institutes in the conduct of research and scientific data generation on pesticides to enable the agency make evidence-based decisions and policies.
She said NAFDAC would also intensify post-marketing surveillance nationwide, adding that there would be continual sensitisation and education of relevant stakeholders on the safe and responsible use of pesticides.
The DG said NAFDAC would also engage with other sister agencies like the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Standards Organisation of Nigeria; the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency and the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service.