A Coalition Against Paraquat (CAP) has called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to enforce an outright ban on the use of Paraquat in the country.
In a statement issued on Monday by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the group made the appeal during a visit to the NAFDAC office in Lagos.
The group emphasised that the call for the ban was necessitated by the need to save farmers, consumers, and the environment from Paraquat toxicity.
Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used as an herbicide, primarily for weed and grass control.
Leader of the coalition, Prof. Ademola Ladele, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University of Ibadan said that paraquat had been proven scientifically to pose danger to public health and the environment.
Ladele said that local and foreign consultants were consulted to do a global review of Paraquat in which it was found that the level of its toxicity was alarming to human life and the environment.
“Hence there is need for it to be off the farm in Nigeria immediately,’’ Ladele said.
Making reference to the work done by IITA through the Cassava Weed Management Project, Ladele said it was discovered that farmers were using paraquat heavily whereas there were issues with its use.
“We looked at it and what we saw wasn’t pleasant at all.
“That is why we are here to share more information with NAFDAC that will help support what the agency is doing towards removing paraquat from Nigerian farms,” he said.
Ladele pointed out that there were alternative products to Paraquat that NAFDAC and other stakeholders could promote in Nigeria for farmers to use.
On his part, Prof. Simon Irtwange, the National President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers expressed concern that restricting the use of paraquat in the country was a major challenge.
According to Irtwange, while there are short and long term negative effects of paraquat toxicity on human health, restricting the use in the country has been a major challenge.
Irtwange said that 32 countries had already deregisParaquat and prohibited its use, “including China that is responsible for 80 per cent of the total exports to the world.
“We feel that this is a compelling case for NAFDAC that has the responsibility of protecting the farmers, environment and the consumers to completely deregister this product.
“There are alternatives that we can promote and we also want to say that we are here as willing partners with NAFDAC and we are ready to partner with you by providing evidence in other areas,’’ he said.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye commended the efforts of CAP in ensuring the health and safety of Nigerians.
Represented by her Special Assistant, Dr Gbenga Fajemirokun, Adeyeye emphasised that the impact of Paraquat toxicity to human health and other challenges had generated a lot of concern.
She said that there were evidences of negative impacts suffered by farmers and consumers of the farm produce in the country.
She said: “it scares me to note that the country that is responsible for 80 per cent of the exports has banned Paraquat use in their country and I think that is quite an alarming scenario.
“If China has banned Paraquat because they found it is toxic, how come we will still be importing it into our own country; something they cannot use in their own country.
“As we speak, we don’t register or renew, we would see to it that the entire thing is off our shelves and that it is not being used by our farmers.
“We are looking at an outright ban once the time that we set as the timeline comes,’’ she said.
Dr Bukar Usman, Director for Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products, NAFDAC, said that part of the plan to eliminate the use of Paraquat in Nigeria includes non-issuance and renewal of expired licenses, stoppage of production and importation.
“We said by 2022, the directorate of registration and regulatory will withdraw the licenses.
“The sensitization and public awareness will be continuous, then moratorium for the exemption of the available stock will exist up to Dec. 20, 2023.
“By Jan. 1, 2024, any molecule of Paraquat in Nigeria will become a contraband, that is the phase out plan,” he said. (NAN)
– Nov. 16, 2020 @ 15:55 GMT |