Friday, March 1, 2024

NAFDAC moves to rid Nigeria of hazardous pesticides

NAFDAC boss Mojisola Adeyeye expressed worries over the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides as it affected food safety and food security.

• May 7, 2023
NAFDAC
NAFDAC office used to illustrate the story

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is seeking stakeholders’ support to phase out harmful pesticides that have become ubiquitous in the country.

NAFDAC boss Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Olusayo Akintola, on Sunday, expressed worries over the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides as it affected food safety and food security.

A report of the study conducted by Heinrich Boll Foundation; a Non-Governmental Organization, claimed that 40 per cent of pesticides used in Nigeria had been banned in the EU, Mrs Adeyeye mentioned.

“There was also an alert received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), cautioning on the possibility that the European Union and 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.

Mrs Adeyeye stressed that NAFDAC’s mandate, as enshrined in the Constitution,  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 (NARPAD) 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 the 22nd, 24th, and 29th of November 2022,” she explained.

The Agency’s boss disclosed that the review 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 All Farmers Association of Nigeria, CropLife Nigeria, Nigeria Agro-Input Dealers Association, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) 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.

Mrs Adeyeye stated that NAFDAC would collaborate with research institutes in the conduct of research and scientific data generation on pesticides to enable the agency to make evidence-based decisions and policies.

She said that NAFDAC would also intensify Post-Marketing Surveillance nationwide, adding that there would be continual sensitization and education of relevant stakeholders on the safe and responsible use of pesticides.

The D-G disclosed that NAFDAC would  engage with other sister agencies like the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).

Other organisations the agency would engage with are the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service.

She said that the engagement was to ensure synergy in the regulation of pesticide and agrochemical products.

The NAFDAC boss said that this is in addition to the Ban of Paraquat, Chlorpyrifos, and Atrazine with effective dates from January 1, 2024, November 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025 respectively.

She said that the agency had also initiated the action plan for the ban/phase-out of 12 active ingredients and the reclassification of four others.

The D-G said that the availability of alternatives in the country were put into consideration to ensure that stakeholders, most especially farmers, will not be affected by the decisions taken. 

(NAN)

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