FG approves upgrading of 4 national soil, water laboratories, to international standard — Minister
Alhaji Sabo Nanono

The Federal Government says it is determined to follow through with the enactment and subsequent signing into law, of the proposed draft bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Pesticide Council to curb fake and contraband pesticides.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, expressed the Federal Governement determination to ensure that the proposed draft bill for the establishment of Nigerian Pesticide Council signed into law.

Nanono said this in a statement by Mrs Eno Olotu, Deputy Director, information, in the ministry on Thursday in Abuja.

Olotu said that the minister said this at a multi-stakeholders workshop on the Proposed Bill for the Establishment of the Nigerian Pesticides Council and Other Related Matters Connected Therewith 2020 in Lagos.

The theme of the workshop was on “ Regulating Agro-Chemical Production and Usage through Legislation”.

Nanono , who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said the bill would sanitise the Agrochemical industry from counterfeiters with fake and contraband pesticides products which had found its way into the Nigerian markets.

” As a ministry, we are committed to ensuring that the Agrochemical being produced, distributed and marketed in the country conforms with internationally acclaimed standards,” he said.

The theme of the workshop is on “ Regulating Agro-Chemical Production and Usage through Legislation”.

Nanono said that Agrochemicals were widely used in Nigeria, starting from seed dressing before planting to storage, marketing and distribution of grains.

” As a result of this huge market for agrochemicals, counterfeiters are flooding the market with massive quantities of fake and contraband pesticide products.

” The continuous use of these fake and contraband pesticide products has continued to pose serious dangers to both the farmers and the environment.

” The continued absence of a regulatory framework capable of providing an all – inclusive and adequate control and monitoring of the industry is unacceptable for the country.

” So, we are determined to follow through with the enactment and subsequent signing of the proposed bill before the National Assembly into law,” he said

Nanono explained that the law would brazenly empower the ministry to sanitise the agrochemical industry through issuing appropriate license to the genuine pesticides manufacturers, importers, sellers and distributors while expanding the revenue base of the government and boosting investors confidence in the industry.

The minister, who expressed delight over the earlier enactment of the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act, said that the passage of the Pesticide bill into law “will unbundle the huge potentials that abounds in the industry and strengthen its capacity to make responsible contribution to the economy”.

He urged the different sector players in the industry and associations, such as the CropLife and other relevant bodies to imbibe appropriate internal mechanism as support towards addressing the general menace.

Nanono said that the Ministry had a dedicated cadre called Produce Officers for the management of agrochemical policies in the country.

Rep. Muntari Dandutse, Chairman, House Committee on Agric Production and Services, said the bill for legislation was to enable people obtain the benefits of pesticides.

” The bill for legislation is to enable the society to obtain the benefit use of pesticides and protect unreasonable effects and prevention of human being, his environment, encourage the innovation of pesticides products,” he said.

He assured that the legislature will ensure the speedy passage of the bill, stating that it is important to have a controlled mechanism to checkmate the industry.

In his address, Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Farm Input Support Services Department (FISSD) in the Ministry, Engr Tunde Bello, said that the indiscriminate use of agrochemicals has generally been linked to poor productivity and massive economic Losses.

” Especially due to resistance to some of the pesticides ; destruction of beneficial soul micro-organisms leading to reduced nutrient concentration in the soul and increased water and wind erosion; loss of economic aquatic animals caused by contamination of the ground and surface water.

” The smallholder farmers who make up the majority of the country’s farming population lack the adequate kowledge on integrated pests management and effective agrochemical delivery systems required to make agrochemical applications more beneficial,” he said.

Umakhihe urged the stakeholders to come up with a more robust bill that would bridge the gap currently existing in the regulation of the agrochemical industry in the interest of the country and for the benefit of the agricultural sector.

NAN

Vanguard News Nigeria

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