From: Babatunde Azeez, Abuja
The Zero Hunger Commodity Association has advocated the use of organic fertilizers for cultivation of fruits and vegetables, as against the use of chemical fertilizers.
National Coordinator of the association, Dr. Tunde Arosanyin, disclosed this in Abuja at a meeting organised by the association to enlighten commodity leaders on the danger of wrong application chemicals on consumable produce.
Arosanyin explained that the use of wrong chemicals to preserve food items and consumable items in particular was the reason for bringing commodity leaders to educate them on alternatives for food preservation.
He identified fruits and vegetables as commodities commonly affected by wrong chemical application stressing that the chemicals are retained in them and consumed directly because they do not undergo further processing like other food items.
He further explained that the recent rise in rate of cancer, liver and kidney failure are traceable to some of the chemicals consumed directly from fruits and vegetables planted with inorganic fertilizers.
“The aim of our meeting today is to highlight the danger in the use of wrong chemicals for preservation of food items. We have been able to enlighten the commodity leaders in some options to use .
“We want to see how we can educate our farmers and consumers also that by next year, we will pressurize the National Assembly to advocate for the use of organic fertiliser on fruits and vegetables.
“These are what we consume directly without any form of processing.”
“When we begin to trace some health challenges like cancer, kidney and liver failure, some will be traceable to some of this chemical element we consume.
“We are training our farmers in our little way in the best practices and we will also put pressure on government to do the needful, ” he said.
He further stated that there are other methods that farmers could use to preserve their farm produce without necessarily using toxic chemicals that have negative effect on human health.
He said the current trend of using dichlorophos Is not good for human consumption while emphasizing that the chemicals that are suitable for preservation is called primiphors methy which has low negative effect on human health.
He explained that they are available in both dust and liquid forms and dust form is about two per cent of concentration, while the liquid is about 10 per cent.
“You can use it by spraying the sack you intend to store your grains in, put it out to dry before putting your grains inside then seal.
“You don’t spray the grains directly. These are some of the options we gave to the commodity leaders this afternoon.
“So, we expect them to go back to their various communities to replicate what they have learnt here in terms of preservations.
“Mind you, this method takes four months of storage before the grains can either be consumed or sold out to consumers.
“Another option is to get a container that air can’t penetrate. In this case, you don’t need chemicals. You make sure your grains are neat enough, fill the container to capacity and close it very tight.
“So that when there is no place for air to enter, every pest that accompany your grains from the farm will die.
“So the heat kills the pest. Once you don’t open it frequently, you can not get any pest in your produce. But when you begin to take from it, after three months, you will discover pest in it, ” he said.
He, however, advised the Federal Government to compliment their efforts by bringing the extension officers to educate farmers on the appropriate methods for storage and what could be used to preserve what we consume directly.