…..Agric experts seek sensitization of farmers on agrochemical use
Some agriculture experts have called for the sensitization of local against agrochemicals misuse in the country to boost food security.
The experts made the calls in separate interviews in Lagos.
Prof. Tunji Iyiola-Tunji, a fellow at the National Agriculture Extension Research (NAERLS), said farmers must be educated on agrochemicals usage because the disadvantages outweighed the benefits.
Iyiola-Tunji said the use of agrochemicals started due to the damage of pests and insects on crops cultivated when farmers discovered that they could prevent infestations of the stored produce.
“The advantages of agrochemicals’ use, farmers now see the use as a simple means of pest and weed control at the detriment of human health and unfortunately most of these farmers are ignorant of the dangers their actions pose.
“Most local farmers are unaware of the implications of agrochemicals’ misuse, it is the responsibility of government at all levels to mount the campaign against indiscriminate use of agrochemicals.
“Some of these agrochemicals have been banned even in the countries where they are being produced but unfortunately they still find their way into the Nigerian market.
“Agrochemicals help them to reduce the drudgery they face in crop cultivation hence the abuse.
“But the major disadvantage of agrochemicals’ misuse is the residual effect of the chemicals on the crops and human health.
“This in turn has led to the ban on the exportation of some of our agro-produce by the European Union because of the high level of agrochemicals residue in them,” Iyiola-Tunji said.
He emphasized the need to educate the farmers due to the dangers of agrochemicals to human health.
“We have to continue educating local farmers on the dangers of agrochemicals’ misuse, especially on the health of the farmers first and then the final consumers.
“Presently, NAERLS is doing a lot to educate the farmers on the dangers of agrochemicals’ misuse.
“We educate the farmers in terms of promotion of good agronomic practices involving the use of agrochemicals.
“We are mounting campaigns against agrochemicals’ misuse by local farmers and we seek more support from all over the country.
“All our farmers need to know the disadvantages of agrochemicals’ misuse, the advantages outweigh the perceived advantages.
“That is why the issue of strange diseases is more rampant now than before and these can be traced to this agrochemicals’ misuse,” he said.
On his part, Mr Omotunde Banjoko, an agriculture analyst, reiterated the need to educate the farmers on inherent dangers of agrochemicals.
“The first thing we need to do is to educate local farmers on the use of some of these agrochemicals.
“Most farmers that engage in the misuse of agrochemicals are not educated. There is no agriculture extension officers guiding their application of these chemicals.
“They just go to the shelf and buy these chemicals without abiding to the specification on its application.
“The extension services are not readily available, so the government needs to employ more extension officers to work with the farmers.
“We need to start adopting policies that will enforce non-proliferation of these banned chemicals into the country.
“These chemicals leave enough residues on crops cultivated. Farmers should also be dissuaded from using these agrochemicals as preservatives.
“More sensitisation must be carried out to prevent the dangerous effect of agrochemicals on crops and human health ultimately,” Banjoko said.