From: Biriowo Kazeem, Abuja
The Director General, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr Vincent Isegbe, says the agency is on the verge of producing draft of Nigeria’s first ever National Pesticide Policy.
The policy is expected to serve as the framework for regulating the use of pesticides for agricultural purposes in the country.
Isegbe disclosed this Wednesday, in his keynote address during the event on formal launch of activities to herald the International Year of Plant Health 2020, held in Abuja.
He said, through the implementation of that Pesticide Policy, the Agency would be able to address the culture of adopting potentially toxic pesticides for food preservation.
The DG further disclosed that the agency is collaborating with researchers in Nigerian tertiary institutions to tackle the root cause of indiscriminate use of pesticides.
His word: “We are working with notable pathologists and entomologists to develop effective, organic-based bio-degradable alternatives to synthetic pesticides.
“One of the major hindrances to the export of Nigerian agricultural products is the high pesticide residues in some of the goods. We are striving to invent biopesticides that are comparable to the chemical pesticides in effect to remove this huge impediment.”
“A couple of field trials are underway in many parts of the country to confirm the suitability of some potent candidates.
“The reports we have received so far indicate that we have come within the inch of the threshold of success in some of the experiments. This progress is cause for optimism.” He added.
The DG described the event as an opportunity to raise recognition, advocacy and support for plant health.
“Throughout year 2020 and beyond, we must mobilize everyone to participate in strengthening plant health in Nigeria and together, we can make year 2020, the International Year of Plant Health, the dawn of agricultural renaissance in Nigeria.” He said.