The Director, Heinrich Boll Foundation Nigeria, Mr Jochen Luckscheiter, has urged farmers to exercise caution when administering pesticides to crops for healthy living and to help save the environment.
Luckscheiter made the call at a Two-Day Engagement Workshop of Social Media Influencers/Journalists on the Nigeria Pesticide Atlas at agro forestry Project farm in Kwali, FCT.
The director said the essence of the workshop was to increase public awareness on the impact of high use of toxic pesticides by farmers in the agricultural sector.
He said pesticides were designed to prevent yield losses in farming system, but it also gives rise to new problems on health and soil degradation which was harmful to ecosystem.
“The idea is to reduce the use of pesticides and farm more relying on organic input as the use of pesticides over the years in Nigeria has not necessarily increased productivity.
“You can increase crop productivity without using pesticides and artificial fertiliser.
“There is lots of knowledge out there that doesn’t rely on artificial input to increase productivity,” he said.
According to him, many pesticides are no longer authorised or banned in the European Union (EU) due to their harmful effects on health and the ecosystem.
However, he cautioned farmers on the safe use of pesticides, stressing that it was highly dangerous to health, though it was aimed at empowering workers on farm production while in active service.
The Executive Director, Chen Education and Development Empowerment (CEDE), Anaele Cynthia, said there was the need to enlighten Nigerians on the dangerous effect of hazardous pesticides imported into the country.
Cynthia said the toxic chemical contents in pesticides had increased from four to 40 per cent with adverse effects on the soil and environment.
According to her, there is the need to enact stiffer laws to prohibit use of toxic and hazardous pesticides by farmers to ensure healthy living and safer farming system in the country.
She stressed the need for the government and stakeholders to be concerned about the health of farmers, saying, “pesticides may cause acute and variety of adverse health effects.”
She said the workshop aimed to sensitize participants on the need to draw the public’s attention to toxic pesticides and what could be done to regulate pesticides and alternative usage.
The Chief Executive/Chief Farmer, Be The Help Foundation Agro forestry Project, Mr Samuel Robert-Kwasari, said there was the need to stop the use of pesticides and revert to the traditional system of farming.
Robert-Kwasari said as farmers struggle to fight the pests, it has emerged that some pesticides are not effective, while other crops suffer adverse effects and soil degradation on the farm.
He said that agriculturalists were also being asked not to spray during a high wind as the chemicals might blow on the person carrying out the spraying.