Experts in pest control management in Nigeria has urged the federal government and farmers to engage the services of professionals in the storage of farm produce in order to avert losses and ensure adequate food security in the country.
They posited that lack of professional impute in food storage often give rise to the prevalence of organ failures and other diseases that are mostly associated with the chemicals used in food preservation.
At the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Pest Control Association of Nigeria (RECAN) in Lagos at the weekend, the experts also called for restrain and understanding in the use of pest control chemical in our environment.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Pest Management in Food Processing, Storage and Packaging Facilities’, the Guest Speaker and former Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mr. Segiru Momodu said Nigeria looses a substantial amount of its agricultural produce to spoilage and lack of understanding in the use of storage chemical among other factors.
According to Segiru: “the problem of food security in Nigeria is because there is a lot of spoilage arising from improper storage occasion by high temperature, poor moisture control and pest access, storage time and distribution of products. These are the things that affect the pest population in our stored produce and produce that we sale.
“Good agricultural practise is very important to ensure food security in Nigeria, and a situation where you have high temperature and inadequate control ensures great losses in most of our harvests. Most harvest losses in Nigeria are very substantial.
The use of pesticide in food should be adequately control so that adequate withdrawal period is allowed for such chemicals to wear off such produce before they are sold to consumers.
“There is need for proper education for farmers to know when to harvest, when to store and when to sell the produce. We are also trying to encourage our farmers to use natural pest.
Use ashes in warehouses to control pest instead of relying on pesticide.
Proper use of pesticide, teaching of farmers by agriculture extension workers and good information from the pesticide label should be part of the hallmark of use of pesticide in Nigeria just as pesticides are to be used as a last resort or as a method to correct a serious problem.”
President of the Pest Control Association of Nigeria, Kunle Williams used the occasion to task Nigerians to be mindful of the environment where to obtain there grains and urged government to partner with the body to educate Nigerians especially those in the rural areas on the dangers of the use of chemicals by non professionals to preserve their harvest.
He said: “we want to let people know how risky it is not to have professionals handle your food environment. A lot of contamination can come out of that whereby you see some chemicals that are supposed to be applied in certain food being used to preserve them. We dedicate this AGM to educating Nigerians on food safety.
People just go to open market and buy things without knowing how those foods were processed. People use different kinds of chemical to control pests and those things have multiplying effects on our bodies, which is why you have different kinds of ailment and different organ failure in the country.
“The public needs to be very concern with the kind of food they eat, how is produced and processed and who handles those products. Now you found out that a lot of people don’t buy things in the markets anymore, they go to stores whereby they have seen people putting a lot of safety measures into their production processes.
“We want to task government, we want to partner with government whereby can come together and make our rural market safe. You find out that people there are just left there to do whatever they want to do. You will be shocked at the type of chemicals being sold to those people to store our daily staple foods like beans, rice and others and when these things get into our system.
Government should come together with the association so that we can advise and even carry out pest management in some of these places as CSR.”
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos state Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Belinda Aderonke Odeleye advised pest controllers to seek alternative methods in preserving foods as a way of reducing the effects of chemicals on human body.
“We cannot do without pest control in terms of our eating and drinking environment. The anthropogenic activities of man have made us to cross the Rubicon whereby we have gone to the animal world in search of alternative sources of livelihood hence what we have in form of pandemic, epidemic and diseases everywhere.”
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