Hidden danger posed by herbicides and pesticides for health and the environment | The Guardian Nigeria News
• That everyone adopt a natural agriculture – Oduola
• Lack of responsible training – Alonge
• It destroys yields – Aubee
Many farmers have adopted the use of chemicals to keep weeds and pests away from their farms. Even though some chemicals add more nutrients to the soil, the majority of farmers are unaware that chemicals also pose a threat to human health.
There are three kinds of pesticides: herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. These pesticides are used to kill different types of pests that are found on the farm in addition to increasing yields. Meanwhile, the chemicals present hidden dangers to people, animals and the environment.
While herbicides help increase the food supply and boost the economy, they also contribute to pollution and poor health, ranging from skin irritation to cancer.
According to the ICAR Research Complex for the Eastern Region, Arbind K. Choudhary, the global herbicides market, estimated at $ 27.21 billion in 2016, is now expected to reach $ 39.15 billion by 2022, according to a forecast. of the TCCA.
The European Union (EU), which has in the past rejected some agricultural products from Nigeria, cited one of the reasons the pesticides used to preserve these items were high.
For example, Nigerian banned beans, banned by the EU three years ago, contained between 0.03 mg and 4.6 mg / kg of dichlorvos (pesticides), contrary to acceptable limits.
The National Public Relations Officer of the Association of Organic Farming Practitioners of Nigeria (NOAN), Mr. Taiwo Oduola, who lamented the negative implication of the use of chemicals by farmers, said the developing countries that pioneered the use of chemicals are now rejecting agricultural yields. from the country.
He said: “In the old days, our ancestors produced crops naturally. They move from land to land when the land is not in good condition within three to five years, which we call shifting cultivation. We use the vegetation and plants around us as pesticides.
“But with the advent of development, they believe the population is increasing and after WWII they believe that the only way to feed the teeming population is to use these leftover artillery from the world war in the production of ‘synthetic fertilizers. and pesticides, we started using it because it promotes high yields, they call it the green revolution and that’s how we adopted it and started using fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, which are foreign to our environment and our land.
He noted that the use of NPK urea, synthetic pesticides, herbicides and others have been discovered by scientists to have created toxic substances in the ecosystem, adding that agricultural waste is good enough to serve of manure to enhance soil fertility without the use of fertilizers.
Oduola said the use of the chemicals cannot stop. “It will not be completely stopped, it depends on the choice – consumer choice and farmer choice. Farmers who use these synthetic herbicides and pesticides also breathe in such chemicals, so they also have their own health issues. Those who consume the yield will have some level of health implications. If they already have one, it makes it worse. The point now is to let everyone adopt natural agriculture. “
An agricultural technologist, teaching and research farm at the University of Ibadan, Ms. Oyetoun Alonge, identified lack of training in the proper use of herbicides, pesticides and other synthetic materials in agriculture as the culprit.
“The majority of farmers don’t care about the health implications of chemicals because of their profit. Excessive use of these chemicals has a detrimental effect on the health of people who consume farm products. It’s not just about those who consume alone, it affects our environment, it affects users.
“I think our farmers need more training and if possible we should just avoid the use of these chemicals altogether because it is better for us to go organic like our ancestors did, rather than adopt the use of these chemicals on our farms. This is why our products are rejected, ”she said.
Alonge said that if farmers grew organically or as naturally as possible, the country’s produce would no longer be rejected in the international market. “Everyone wants to leave a better life, but wants a life that will be free from health problems like cancer among others in the world now. And in order for us to achieve this, we must cut off anything that is detrimental to our health. “
For his part, the head of the Agriculture Division of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Ernest Aubee, attributed the excessive use of chemicals to reduced crop production and productivity in Nigeria and in other African countries.
Aubee said the global food production system shattered as the very basis of agriculture was destroyed due to unsustainable practices, such as destruction of vegetation, excessive use of pesticides and others. chemicals and destruction of pest and disease resistant varieties, among others.
During an intervention during an online presentation on “the importance of ecological organic farming policies in the transformation of West African agriculture”, organized by the journalists Go Organic Initiative, Aubee affirmed the reduction of crop production and productivity in Africa, warning that climate change poses a serious threat to food security in Nigeria and other countries. He further noted that the use of harmful chemicals in food production signals a serious danger.
He said that while there is a need to scale up the campaign to increase global food production, consideration should be given to building a strong ecosystem, saying that “sustainable food production and food security can only be achieved through management. adequate ecosystem “.
Aubee said Africans should be concerned about sustainable food production that will not only feed them, but also care for the health of people and their environment.