The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has called on farmers and traders of agricultural products to desist from randomly applying agrochemicals on food products.
This, the ministry says, is because of the negative health effect such application has.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Omar Bello, said this in Bauchi while sensitising farmers and traders on the incessant use of agrochemicals in food production on Monday.
“That results in upsurge in metabolic diseases among consumers in Nigeria and elsewhere.
“This concern is also becoming worrisome just as the country strives to increase its revenue base through non-oil export, particularly through the agricultural commodities that are of international importance.
“When you examine the cost of improper use of chemicals to both the users and consumers of such produce, the loss to Nigeria is in billions, apart from the implication on nutrition and health, increased cost of production, marketing, loss of labour productivity and impact on children’s development,” Bello said.
He stressed that for the country’s agricultural products to be accepted in both the local and international markets, farmers and traders needed to be sensitised on safety processes from production to marketing.
“The participation of farmers and traders are key in addressing the various challenges we have on food safety, especially in marketing that result in the rejection of our export produce.
“Zero rejection is quality control and standardisation to entrench best practice in agricultural production, processing and storage handling by traders and stakeholders along value chain towards quality consumption and export.
“It is hoped that at the end of the training and street sensitisation, Nigerian farmers, traders, food vendors, caterers and other stakeholders will adopt best practice in agricultural produce for competitiveness at both domestic and international markets,” he said.
He stated that the sensitisation workshop would be carried out in different states of the federation until the goal is achieved.