Why Nige­ria needs to stop pes­ti­cide im­por­ta­tion

Sunday Trust - - AGRIC BUSINESS - By Sa­fina Buhari

Fol­low­ing a re­cent claim by the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Nige­rian Stored Prod­ucts Re­search In­sti­tute (NSPRI), Prof Olufemi Peters that Nige­rian farm­ers and agro-based com­pa­nies spend USD400 mil­lion an­nu­ally on pes­ti­cides, Daily Trust ex­am­ines the sit­u­a­tion and dis­cusses with ex­perts on pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tives as to how the coun­try can be sel­f­re­liant on pes­ti­cide for­mu­la­tion to meet up Nige­rian farm­ers’ de­mand.

Against this back­drop, Prof Olufemi noted that the­in­sti­tute has de­vel­opeda safe, ef­fec­tive stor­age pes­ti­cide known as ‘NSPRI-dust’, which could be used to store grains. The grains in­clude maize, sorghum, paddy rice and wheat which could be stored for up to 24 to 48 months, while cow­pea (beans) could be stored for up to 36 months.

Although the prod­uct is yet to be com­mer­cialised, it has been al­ready adopted by some in­sti­tu­tions, mar­kets and other in­ter­ested per­sons.

Pro­fes­sor Mo­hammed Faguci Ishaku of the Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity’s In­sti­tute for Agri­cul­tural Re­search (IAR), Zaria was quoted as say­ing Nige­ria could save up to N16 bil­lion on grow­ing maruca re­sis­tant cow­pea alone, the cost that would have oth­er­wise been spent on buy­ing pes­ti­cides.

He said this at the sen­si­ti­sa­tion work­shop for the Nige­rian Seed In­dus­try on ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied seeds held at the Nige­rian Agri­cul­tural Seed Coun­cil (NASC).

The plant breeder ex­plained that with ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied cow­pea seeds, ev­ery farmer will have a 20% yield ad­van­tage over con­ven­tional seeds per hectare, which would trans­late to N48 bil­lion at the rate of N120, 000 per tonne.

Prof Faguci noted that with this, Nige­rian farm­ers would also be saved from con­sum­ing or in­hal­ing tox­ins from ex­ces­sive use of chem­i­cals by spray­ing.

Mean­while, Prof Ay­o­dele Ade­bisi of the Fed­eral Univer­sity of Agri­cul­ture, Abeokuta in Ogun state pointed out that the only way Nige­ria can cut im­por­ta­tion of pes­ti­cide is by hav­ing indige­nous com­pa­nies to man­u­fac­ture pes­ti­cides in all the geo-po­lit­i­cal zones of the coun­try.

He ad­vised that Gov­ern­ment en­gage in ca­pac­ity build­ing of re­searchers so they can come back and es­tab­lish lo­cal in­dus­tries that will strengthen Nige­ria’s ca­pa­bil­ity of both or­ganic and in­or­ganic pes­ti­cide for­mu­la­tions which would en­sure that the coun­try saves for­eign ex­change that would’ve been oth­er­wise spent on im­por­ta­tion.

Prof Ade­bisil­a­mented that no re­search in­sti­tute has the man­date for pes­ti­cide for­mu­la­tion, but rather the Crop Pro­tec­tion de­part­ments in Uni­ver­si­ties which he said have­g­reat syn­ergy with in­dus­tries but with lit­tle sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the sec­tor’s de­vel­op­ment.

The Pro­fes­sor ex­plained that although neem and cashew ex­tracts are very ef­fi­ca­cious in pro­tect­ing food, the for­mu­la­tions are not prop­erly pack­aged in a way that will be avail­able to farm­ers.

“We need pack­ag­ing, we need in­dus­tries that will make them read­ily in the mar­ket for farm­ers to use,” he said.

He charged the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment to cre­ate a pes­ti­cide re­search in­sti­tute which would be piv­otal in build­ing ca­pac­ity, use­ful to farm­ers and for food se­cu­rity of the coun­try in­stead of de­pend­ing on im­por­ta­tion from other coun­tries.

Although Nige­ria is es­ti­mated to have over 100 mil­lion neem trees, the coun­try loses an es­ti­mated 12.5 bil­lion USD an­nu­ally by not har­ness­ing the neem oil among sev­eral other neem prod­ucts.

Dr Ab­dul­lahi Ahmed Yar’adua, for­merly a lec­turer at the Has­san Us­man Katsina Polytech­nic stated that bio-pes­ti­cides made from nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents are user and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, adding that be­cause of the abun­dance of neem in the coun­try, har­ness­ing the po­ten­tial of neem bio-pes­ti­cides as a home-based tech­nol­ogy would be at lit­tle or no cost to farm­ers.

The ex­pert pointed out that neem is pes­ti­ci­dal in na­ture and rich in com­pounds that are ef­fec­tive against sev­eral in­sects, fungi, bac­te­ria, ne­ma­todes among oth­ers, in ad­di­tion to con­trol of striga, a nox­ious weed known lo­cally as ‘wuta-wuta’ in Hausa.

The neem pro­cess­ing plant at Katsina con­structed by the Obasanjo ad­min­is­tra­tion was left to rot away un­til it was fi­nally sold out to a for­eign com­pany with lit­tle or no sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion till date.

An­other Don at the In­sti­tute of Agri­cul­tural Re­search, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity Zaria, Prof Sal­ihu Dadari lamented that Nige­rian mar­kets and bor­ders are very por­ous which al­lows sub­stan­dard prod­ucts to make way into the coun­try.

Prof Dadari hinted that the USD400 mil­lion al­legedly spent on pes­ti­cides by farm­ers and agro-al­lied in­dus­tries could be an un­der­es­ti­ma­tion be­cause peo­ple bring all sorts of pes­ti­cides in to the coun­try through the bor­der of Niger, Benin Repub­lic, Chad and Camer­oun.

“If you en­ter our mar­ket now, you will see all forms of pes­ti­cides; in­sec­ti­cides, ne­mati­cides, fungi­cides, some are of low qual­ity, some are of high qual­ity.The Paraquat chem­i­cal for ex­am­ple has car­cino­genic com­pounds but you see it all over the coun­try and it has been banned in many coun­tries.”

“You know they have to con­trol in­sect in cow­pea and all the hor­ti­cul­tural crops but all these things have side ef­fect many peo­ple have kid­ney prob­lem, many peo­ple are di­a­betic pa­tients and even can­cer, all these things are as­so­ci­ated with these pes­ti­cides,” he said.

He noted that although the al­ter­na­tive could be or­ganic pes­ti­cides, such prod­ucts are still at in­fancy level and not ad­e­quate enough.

Prof Dadari blamed the poor state of Nige­rian le­gal and ju­di­cial sys­tem for the il­le­gal im­por­ta­tion of all sorts of agro-chem­i­cals into the coun­try. He said per­pe­tra­tors of such act need to be tried and brought to book to serve as de­ter­rent to other erring in­di­vid­u­als.

He charged Gov­ern­ment to look in­wards and have a func­tional re­search frame­work that would fi­nan­cially sup­port re­searchers to look into the var­i­ous ben­e­fi­cial herbs suit­able for pes­ti­cide for­mu­la­tion, adding that through part­ner­ships, the is­sue of fund­ing of re­search could be ef­fec­tively dealt with to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of the project.

Again, Prof Dadari stressed on the need for the coun­try to have a func­tional le­gal and ju­di­cial sys­tem, au­then­ti­cate the le­gal pro­ce­dures and peo­ple that are found want­ing should be brought to book and pun­ished ac­cord­ingly.

“Nige­ria has to re-ori­en­tate her law and or­der, our prob­lem is very big we have to fol­low law and or­der of the land but we are not fol­low­ing it. Also the prob­lem with our ju­di­ciary sys­tem, if you give them money you are gone so they don’t im­ple­ment the laws of the land,” he said.

Are com­ing in so any­body can bring any­thing here sell and make money, most of them are im­pure while some are pol­luted and with that the chil­dren carry …. Peo­ple have been seen wrongly they nor­mally in­haled them , by the time you ap­ply them a bite cul­ture, con­troller eye some­thing so some get ex­cess and this ex­cess you will not know on till af­ter some years and the old is two years most of this prod­uct have been banned in some ad­vance coun­try they have stop us­ing them, they are com­mon in Nige­ria they are killing them self in­di­rectly, so the is­sues is that all these dis­eases we have are as­so­ci­ated with these chem­i­cals like this rice we call for­eign rice they have been stored with chem­i­cals for 10 years more than 10years be­cause they have to con­trol in­sects and when they bring them to Nige­ria we see our women and men who are ig­no­rant we say I want for­eign rice all this things are dan­ger­ous to us plus the car­ry­over pes­ti­cides in the field.

But the cur­rent Cus­toms boss Hameed Ali is try­ing to bring in some san­ity, so he has al­ready ar­rested some of them and they know he can pur­sue them up to the court but the is­sue is that they would be bailed.

So ev­ery­thing we are do­ing is al­ready pol­luted with these chem­i­cals. So the fig­ures he gave were even un­der es­ti­mated be­cause in ev­ery vil­lage you go you see chem­i­cals, some are poor qual­ity, oth­ers are

So we can­not de­velop un­der false pre­text, there has to be law and or­der. Be­cause of the frag­men­ta­tion of our le­gal sys­tem, that is why you see this kind of pro­lif­er­a­tion.

And they spray on all kinds of crops

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