By Felicia Imohimi
The Alliance for Action on Pesticide in Nigeria (AAPN) has called on the Nigerian government to develop pesticide policy and legislation to ensure that the use of toxic pesticides is banned and reduced.
The AAPN made the call in a statement issued on Wednesday after a day of documentary screening and round table discussions on double pesticide standards and improving pesticide regulation in the country.
The release was signed by Donald Ofeogbu, AAPN Coordinator, HBS Program Manager and Chris Kaka, AAPN Coordinator, Trade Network Initiative (TNI) Program Manager.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aim of the meeting is to end the double standard that exists in the global trade in active ingredients and pesticide products.
Pesticide products and active ingredients not approved in the European Union (EU) due to health or environmental concerns, but exported outside the EU by agrochemical companies, are sold in other regions, including the Nigeria.
It was also about encouraging sustainable farming practices and ending support for conventional monoculture that reinforces reliance on dangerous pesticides and closing gaps in pesticide regulation and management.
In the statement, AAPN observed that there is no pesticide policy or legislation in Nigeria that effectively regulates the use and entry of pesticides, especially those banned elsewhere and highly hazardous pesticides. (HHP).
He said there were also significant and confusing overlaps in pesticide monitoring in the country between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Ministry of Environment, NESREA, NAFDAC , among others, with related mandates.
“These agencies all seem to be vying for dominance instead of working in synergy.
“Pesticide companies claim their products are safe if used correctly, and marketing authorization is based on the assumption of ‘safe use’.
“This statement, however, is far removed from the reality in Nigeria and other countries in the Global South.
“In many cases, the necessary protective equipment is unavailable, too expensive or impractical due to weather conditions. Many Nigerian farmers are unaware of the effects,” he added.
The statement recommended that the House Agriculture Committee continually open the space for public participation and engagement in the development of pesticide legislation.
“The committee should ensure that any pesticide legislation is first in the interests of safeguarding the health of Nigerians and our environment, rather than maximizing the profits of agribusinesses.
“The National Assembly and the Presidency should approve budget appropriations to fund meetings of the National Chemicals Management Committee to improve interdepartmental collaborations to end the mismanagement of HHPs and other highly toxic chemicals in all sectors.
“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should work closely with the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to initiate the draft and review process of the Integrated Pest Management Policy Plan (officially led by the NASQ),” he recommended.
He further recommended that the government ensure that CSOs, smallholder farmers, consumer groups, academics and organic farming practitioners are part of the policy development process.
He also recommended that farmer associations and farmer groups work towards self-regulation of pesticide use among their members and raise awareness among their members about highly hazardous pesticide brands.
According to the statement, farmers should have a list of pesticides that are not likely to cause an acute hazard.
“They should encourage and demand organic pesticides, bio-pesticides, while helping their members learn about more sustainable and healthier farming systems like multiple cropping systems, organic farming, agro-ecology, use of land preparation strategies and mechanical weed control. .
“Farmers at all levels should mobilize and seize the opportunity of the upcoming national elections to engage with political candidates on the spread of toxic pesticides and secure political commitments to promote nature-friendly bio-pesticides.
“They should also seek to improve pesticide regulations in Nigeria and promote sustainable agriculture.
“Politicians, farmers and voters should refrain from offering and accepting highly hazardous pesticides.”
NAN reports that the AAPN is a coalition of more than 40 civil society organizations, academics, independent scientists and media professionals, who are committed to phasing out all highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), obsolete and adulterated pesticides from the Nigeria and West Africa.
The event brought together more than 95 physical participants and 45 online participants, including representatives from FMARD, Ministries of Health, Industry, Trade and Investment, Environment, Budget and National Planning, the Office of the Federation Secretary General and the media.
Others included: NESREA, NAFDAC, FCCPC, Nigeria Customs Services, SON, NAQS, NASS members in agricultural production and services, international and local NGOs, CSOs, Pesticide Action Network Europe, HBS Brussels Office, Third Circle Kenya, Action Aid Nigeria and farmers associations and others. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Grace Yussuf