By Kehinde Oluwatayo
A suggestion has gone to members of the National Assembly to enact a law restricting farmers and traders from using harmful chemicals to preserve farm produce so as not to jeopardize the lives of Nigerians.
A Principal Agric Officer with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Olajide Ayemorode stated this while speaking with The Hope in his office.
Ayemorode noted that some of the chemicals being used by these farmers and traders are either fake, expired or harmful to Nigerians.
While condemning application of chemicals directly on food items, Ayemorode called on farmers and traders to apply them the right way and at the right time.
He said up till now there is no penalty for anyone caught, making it difficult to curb the act.
“Our men go out on daily basis to caution traders to stop using chemicals to preserve food items. Some use chemicals to ripen fruits, plantain and so on. We only correct them with the word of mouth since there is no law binding them and you know Nigerians will always go back to it.
“But if there is a law in place to check them, they will desist from doing it. So our legislators, members of houses of assembly and representatives should do more by enacting a law restricting them from using these dangerous chemicals, without being guided by an extension officer they are poisonous,” he suggested.
He cautioned farmers to stop using chemicals they don’t know but should consult their extension officers who visit them fortnightly before using any chemical.
He also urged government to enlighten them through the media on the dangers of wrong application of chemicals and the effect of expired or fake chemicals on humans.
“Government should enlighten them on the danger of using these chemicals. Sensitisation on radio, television and newspapers will go a long way in correcting them so that they will know the effect on human lives.” He advised.
Ayemorode, a potential agronomist advised farmers to do fire tracing of their farms to prevent fire outbreak especially cocoa farmers as the dry season sets in.
He also charged them to harvest their yam and store properly to avoid plant diseases and crop infestation.