By Etta Michael Bisong
The Federal Government has called on stakeholders to ensure the use of quality and safe pesticides to tackle the concerns in agricultural production, as well as environmental protection to foster sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who made the call in Abuja during a workshop organised by CropLife West and Central Africa, lamented that the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDPs) are the twin topical concerns bedeviling growth in agriculture and environmental sustainability globally.
Represented by the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Sir Rufus Ebegba, the minister highlighted that advancement in the development of more environmentally friendly crops with the use of fewer chemicals that can reduce green house gasses is pivotal to environmental conservation.
“It is therefore not only important but apt that the stakeholders are here to discuss on pesticides quality as well as safe and responsible use of it,” Amina said.
She urged the participants to deliberate scientifically and ensure that the outcome is submitted to decision makers involved in the approval of pesticides.
The nation’s environment boss expressed satisfaction over objective of the workshop, which she said will further strengthen cooperation between the public and private sector practitioners in order to improve agricultural and environmental sustainability.
Speaking on possible relationship, she hinted that her ministry in the past collaborated with Croplife on the Cleanfarms Project and is currently in the process of jointly working on the disposal of obsolete pesticides stocks.
“I wish to urge Croplife to carry out economic activities that would enhance the Change Mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari in the repositioning of the Nigerian economy,” she said.
The minister disclosed that her ministry has always reverted for inputs from Croplife on issues that concern the Rotterdam Convention, the Prior Inform Consent (PIC) procedure as they affect certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
Amina assured Croplife of continuous support and collaboration on issues that concern the safety of pesticides on the environment, farmers and the crop.
Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture who also spoke at the event, said it will be impossible to achieve President Muhammodu Buhari’s economic diversification plan without the proper application of science in agriculture and environmental conservation.
For this to happen, he said scientists have to find ways of simplifying science jagons and putting them in languages that policymakers can understand to enable them make laws that support use of science to improve development in agricultural while ensuring environmental safeguards in the country.