Stakeholders at the workshop organised by CropLife West and Central Africa in Abuja
By Etta Michael Bisong
The Federal Government has called on stakeholders to ensure the use of quality and safe pesticides to tackle the concerns in agricultural production, as well as environmental protection to foster sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who made the call in Abuja during a workshop organised by CropLife West and Central Africa, lamented that the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDPs) were the twin topical concerns that bedevil growth in agriculture and global environmental sustainability.
Represented by the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Sir Rufus Ebegba, the minister highlighted that the advancement in the development of more environmental-friendly crops with the use of fewer chemicals that could reduce greenhouse gasses, is pivotal to environmental conservation.
“It is therefore not only important but apt that the stakeholders are here to discuss on pesticides quality as well as safe and responsible use of it,” Amina said.
She urged the participants to apply science in their deliberations as well as ensure that the outcome of the deliberations were submitted to decision makers that are involved in the approval of pesticides.
The nation’s environment boss expressed satisfaction on the objectives of the workshop, which she said would further strengthen cooperation between the public and private sector practitioners in order to improve agricultural and environmental sustainability.
Speaking on possible relationship, she hinted that her ministry in the past collaborated with Croplife on the Cleanfarms Project and is presently in a joint process of working on the disposal of obsolete pesticides stocks.
“I wish to urge Croplife to carry out economic activities that will enhance the Change Mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari in the repositioning of the Nigerian economy,” she said.
The minister disclosed that her ministry had always reverted to CropLife for inputs on issues that related to the Rotterdam Convention, the Prior Inform Consent (PIC) procedure as they affect certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
Amina assured Croplife of continuous support and collaboration on issues that concerned the safety of pesticides on the environment, farmers and the crop.
Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, who also spoke at the event, said it would be impossible to achieve President Muhammodu Buhari’s economic diversification plan without the proper application of science in agriculture and environmental conservation.
He stressed that for this to happen, scientists would have to find ways of breaking scientific jagons into understandable language that policy and lawmakers could understand to enable them make laws that support the use of science in order to improve development in agriculture while ensuring environmental safeguards in the country.
Etta Michael Bisong is
Science & Environment Journalist with Blueprint newspaper http://www.blueprint.ng/
He coordinates the Journalists for Social Development Initiative (JSDI) and Leader, Cornell Alliance for Science/ www.allianceforscience.cornell.edu, +234 (0)8037865928 #biz4real57 Skype: mob4real57