NAFDAC raises alarm over the importation of banned pesticides

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has raised an alarm over the importation and use of pesticides banned in Europe in Nigeria.

NAFDAC, is, however, seeking stakeholders’ support to eliminate harmful pesticides from the Nigerian markets.

Quoting a report of the study conducted by the Heinrich Boll Foundation, 40 per cent of pesticides used in Nigeria had been banned in the European Union.

The agency also expressed its worries over the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides, saying it affects food safety and food security.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye in a statement signed by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola disclosed that “The dangers posed by pesticides are of immense concern to the agency and there have been recent concerns from stakeholders such as the report of the study conducted by Heinrich Boll Foundation; a non-governmental organisation that 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.

“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 vis-à-vis activities banned, non-approved.”

The agency said the outcome of the review was shared with stakeholders at a three-day virtual stakeholders’ engagement.

It further said the review meeting focused much on the proposed phase-out and ban of the active ingredients.

“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.

“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. 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.

“NAFDAC would engage with other sister agencies like the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Standard Organisation of Nigeria.

“Other organisations the agency would engage with are the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service,” it said.

It added that the engagement was to ensure synergy in the regulation of pesticide and agrochemical products.

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