The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has dispelled insinuations that 40 percent of the registered brands of pesticide products used in Nigeria are either banned or restricted for use by EU, thereby endangering the lives of people, animals, and the environment in Nigeria.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye stated this in her remarks while speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day NAFDAC top management committee (TMC) meeting in Lagos at the weekend.
Prof Adeyeye, in a statement by Sayo Akintola, the Resident Media Consultant, on Sunday, said that NAFDAC is ISO: 900: 2015 Quality Management System (QMS) certified organization that has put in place procedures to enable the Agency to take regulatory decisions to determine whether an active ingredient should be banned or restricted.
NAFDAC (Nigeria) is a signatory to the international Convention that banned chemicals and pesticides such as the Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty designed to facilitate informed decision-making by countries with regard to trade in hazardous chemicals and Pesticides. Chemicals banned by international convention have been phased out and never entertained for registration or given import permits as raw materials for production.
As a sovereign state, she noted that Nigeria has regulatory bodies empowered to regulate and control the production, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale, and use of such chemical products.
She pointed out that NAFDAC is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that chemical products produced in Nigeria and those being imported into the country meet the prerequisite in-country approval as well as international standards, adding that NAFDAC has a stringent requirement of ensuring that any pesticide to be imported into Nigeria is on the Market in the exporting country the current Free Sale Certificate is authenticated by the Nigerian Embassy in the exporting country.
The NAFDAC boss also stated that in order to ensure that only active ingredients approved by NAFDAC are allowed into the country, NAFDAC Appointed Testing Agents (CRIA) and Laboratories to conduct tests and forward results to the agency before any pesticide is shipped from countries that are major exporters of agrochemicals into Nigeria.
According to NAFDAC, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified four toxicity classes of pesticides as- extremely hazardous, highly hazardous, moderately hazardous, slightly hazardous and unlikely to present acute hazard
“These classifications are for guidance purposes to enable users to take necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of food, humans, animals, and the environment,” she said.
She, however, assured Nigerians that adequate quality control tests are carried out by the Agency before granting certifications for all products that are either imported or manufactured within the country. In addition, she disclosed that the field trial evaluation is conducted in collaboration with research institutes in Nigeria to determine the safety, quality and efficacy of new molecules as well as inspection of manufacturing facilities to establish that a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is in place to ensure that product manufactured meets the quality standard specification for the intended use.
“Other regulatory activities include but are not limited to the issuance of authority to clear, continual sensitization and awareness exercises for relevant stakeholders on safe and responsible use of pesticides, Post-Marketing Surveillance to Mop-up fake/unregistered/expired products, and the Destruction of seized products.”
According to her, the EU uses much lower Maximum Residual Limits (MRLs) than most other CODEX member countries, hence the EU raised observations for the codex secretariat and subsequently WTO to take note. With this, she explained that products with active ingredients that are accepted by other codex member countries including Nigeria are not allowed into the EU.
Prof. Adeyeye, however, pointed out that the lack of scientific data in Nigeria has been identified as a gap that explains why the country participants refrain from raising observations during codex meetings, therefore, have no choice but to go by the general Codex Alimentarius resolutions.
The DG has called on all relevant research institutions to generate enough data and make available such data for the Nigerian team that attends Codex Committee on Pesticides Residues (CCPR) to advance the country’s interest.
Prof. Adeyeye, however, intimates that all the pesticides approved for use by NAFDAC are also in use in other parts of the world except Europe without any fuse, asking rhetorically why this campaign was not taken to the US, Latin America, or Asia where the products are also being used?
She called on investors to feel free and confident to invest in Agricultural production in Nigeria. She reiterated her determination and assurance to Nigerians that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that food products available to Nigerians for consumption are safe and wholesome. The Agency in the last four years of her administration has been repositioned to effectively regulate all agricultural inputs such as pesticides, and agrochemicals amidst other NAFDAC-regulated products.
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