Food security: Women farmers urge ban of hazardous pesticides

Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) on Friday, called for the ban of Highly Hazardous Pesticide (HHPs) products in the country.

The organisation made the call at a news conference organised by the Alliance for Action on Pesticide in Nigeria (AAPN), and SWOFON on pesticide use among small-scale women farmers in Nigeria in Abuja.

The President of SWOFON, Mrs Mary Afan, said the call is an outcome of the snapshot survey on pesticide brands used by small scale farmers in some states.

Afan listed the states to include Benue, Nasarawa, Abuja and Plateau States, with the potential health implications of the pest brands, and other regulatory status in Nigeria and internationally.

She said the organisation discovered that 94.2% of women farmers covered in the survey use synthetic chemical pesticides to manage pest issues in their farms.

“About 75 per cent of the women farmers surveyed who use chemical pesticides have experienced some health challenges that they attributed to the pesticides use,” it said.

As a result, the organisation recommended that these chemical substances which were banned in Europe should also be banned in Nigeria

“It also recommended that people should be encouraged to use organic pesticide and fertilisers that are not harzadous to them.

“It recommended that farmers’ association and Agro dealers should put measures in place for self-regulation on pesticide use and trade in the country,” she said.

According to SWOFON, this is to ensure that HHPs and those banned locally and internationally are not used, promoted or sold in Nigeria.

“The leadership of the various farm associations in Nigeria must ensure that HHPs and banned toxic pesticides are not promoted or requested by their associations.

“‘Else, the association should be ready to cover for the damages and harms that come from inputs they encouraged or helped their members to access,” she said.

About 75% of the women farmers surveyed who use chemical pesticides have experienced some health challenges that they attributed to the pesticides use.

SWOFON therefore called on the leadership of the farmer associations to sensitise and educate their members on the associated dangers of use of pesticides, especially the categories of extremely hazardous pesticides.

Such sensitisation can be done in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NAO), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) among others.

It also stressed the need for the National Assembly to amend the law that created NAFDAC and give the agency power to ban, suspend any registered pesticide product categorized as extremely hazardous to humans.”

Responding, a representative of NAFDAC, Mrs Abey Ashawlu, attributed the rejection of Nigeria agricultural produce to too much application of the pesticides.

She reiterated the need for responsible use of pesticides products as well as training of farmers on the use of pesticides by extension agents.

Also, Mrs Spanny Embiem, of the National Environmental Standard and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA), called for the ban of HHPs as well as creating awareness on the misuse of pesticides. (NAN)

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