…As Institute urges regulatory bodies to control ”micotoxins” in food supply***
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it will soon ban the use of Paraquat and Atrazine products by farmers.
The agency said it would mount evidence that the products hurt applicators and the environment.
Dr Husman Bukar, the Director, Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products Directorate, NAFDAC, said this at the launch of a herbicide (Lifeline), produced by United Phosphorous Limited (UPL).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the product launched at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, was also developed with UPL, IITA and Springfield Agro Company Lagos.
Bukar said the decision was coming at a time when new herbicides that are safer and environmentally friendly were being registered in Nigeria.
“A date for the ban has not been announced but it will happen very soon. Paraquat has been banned in several countries and we cannot continue to allow it to come into Nigeria,” he said.
He also announced stricter measures to curtail the use of Snipper (Dichlorvos or 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate) in homes to end the abuse of the pesticide which in recent times had been associated with suicides in Nigeria.
“Recently, some suicide cases have been associated with people drinking Snipper, henceforth, we call on the agro-chemical industry to enhance their distribution channels so that this product (Snipper) gets to only accredited distributors and marketers.
“We have also placed a ban on the manufacture of smaller packs of Snipper which are easily purchased for household use.
“On the use of glyphosate by farmers, NAFDAC has placed a ban on glyphosate-based formulations with tallow-amine (an emulsifier and wetting agent for agrochemical formulations.
“Agrochemical companies have been given the grace period of between now and December 2019 to withdraw all glyphosate formulations with tallow-amine from the Nigerian market,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Shanni Srivastava, the UPL Country Manager, said his company was working towards ensuring that only safer and environmentally friendly herbicides are introduced in the Nigerian market for the benefit of farmers.
He said the debut of Lifeline was to offer a better and safer alternative to paraquat which in several countries in Africa had been banned.
On his part, the President of the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Aminu Abubakar, described Lifeline as an excellent weed control herbicide in maize.
Abubakar said that most of the maize farmers were now using the product and commended UPL for inaugurating the product in Nigeria.
He also commended IITA and Springfield Agrochemicals for collaborating with UPL to ensure that Nigerian farmers benefited from the innovation.
Mr Tope Olabokunde, a cassava farmer, who participated in the Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) programme where Lifeline was used by researchers from IITA, said the product was a good controller of weeds.
In the meantime, the Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) has called on regulatory authorities to deploy science technology to control micotoxins in food.
Micotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi).
Moulds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and
Mrs Vera Ezeh, Chairperson of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of the institute made the suggestion on Thursday in Abuja during its Regional Food Summit.
The theme of the summit was “Promoting Food Safety in Nigeria by the control of Micotoxins in the Food Supply.”
Ezeh said that ingestion of micotoxin contaminated foods had enormous public health as well as economic significance.
“This year’s theme is apt because Nigeria is going through diversification of its mono economy, majorly through agriculture and solid minerals.
” The ingestion of micotoxin-contaminated foods has enormous public health significance.
“Anything that affects health can not promote the economy, and handling of agricultural produce comes with enormous challenges.
” The quickest way to solving the issue is through deployment of science and technology,” she said.
Ezeh said that the intention of the food summit was to educate participants on the effects of micotoxins in food value chains and proffer solutions.
Mr Oluwole Toye, President, and Chairman of the NIFST council said that the regional food summit was a commendable idea becsuse it would take the message of food safety to the grassroots.
He urged members of the institute to undertake initiatives that would ensure food safety as well as job creation initiatives across the country.
He described NIFST as the largest body of food professionals in Africa, urging members to ensure that their impact is felt in the society.
Also present at the food summit was Mr Hafis Abubakar, a former Deputy Governor of Kano State, who commended NIFST for its efforts towards ensuring food safety in Nigeria.
Also, a Nigerian legislator, Rep. Abante, commended the institute, while pledging the support of the legislature to its efforts.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NIFST is a body of food professionals drawn from across different sectors in the food chain.
It provides professional support to public and private institutions as well as individuals in the food industry.
It also promotes Food Science and Technology as a professional discipline which contributes to nation building.