Most pesticides in Nigerian markets banned in Europe


As the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides escalates in Nigeria, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control [NAFDAC] has banned three of the major pesticides and initiated actions for the ban and phase out of 12 active ingredients and reclassification of four others.

The three major pesticides banned are paraquat, chlorpyrifos, and atrazine which are commonly used in homes and by farmers. The ban takes effect from 1st January 2024, 1st November 2024 and 1st January 2025 respectively.

As the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor, Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye makes this known, she lamented that the dangers posed by pesticides are of immense concern to the Agency and there has been recent concerns from stakeholders such as the report of the study conducted by Heinrich Boll Foundation; a non-governmental organisation that claimed that 40% of pesticides used in Nigeria had been banned in the EU.

“There was also an alert received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) cautioning on the possibility that the European Union and United Kingdom were exporting banned Neonicotinoid Pesticides to Nigeria and other Poorer Countries. Emphasis was placed on Chlorpyrifos and its variants due to their harmful effects on humans, animals, beneficial insects, and the environment,” disclosed the DG.

“This necessitated the review and analysis of the list of registered pesticide and agrochemical active ingredients in the NAFDAC Registered Product Automated Database (NARPAD) vis-à-vis actives banned, non-approved or restricted in the European Union, other countries or by relevant international organisations.”

 The outcome of the review said Professor Adeyeye was shared with stakeholders at a three days virtual stakeholder’s engagement held on the 22nd, 24th, and 29th of November 2022. “It focused on the proposed phase-out/ban of these active ingredients and had in attendance, proponent holders of marketing authorizations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Associations (All Farmers Association of Nigeria, CropLife Nigeria, Nigeria Agro-Input Dealers Association etc), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Research institutes amongst others.”

Speaking, the DG said that at the end of the meeting, it was agreed amongst others that Pesticide and agrochemical importers and manufacturers would be advised to institute stewardship plans (such as Post Marketing Surveillance and research) in their companies.

“NAFDAC to collaborate with research institutes in the conduct of research and scientific data generation on pesticides to enable the Agency make evidence-based decisions and policies. NAFDAC to intensify Post Marketing Surveillance nationwide.

According to the DG, it was also agreed that there should be continual sensitisation and education of relevant stakeholders on the safe and responsible use of pesticides. That NAFDAC should engage with other sister Agencies (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service) to ensure synergy in the regulation of pesticide and agrochemical products.

In addition to the Ban of Paraquat, Chlorpyrifos, and Atrazine ‘the Agency has also initiated the action plan for the ban/phase-out of 12 active ingredients and the reclassification of 4 others. The availability of alternatives in the country were put into consideration to ensure that stakeholders most especially farmers will not be affected by the decisions taken.

There is an immediate plan to phase out Carbofuran while a two years action plan to phase out the active ingredients Clothianidin, diquat dibromide, diquate dichloride and ametryn. The plan which is already on course ends 1st January 2025.

The Agency also proposed a three years action plan for Anthraquinone, Carbendazim, Chlorothalonil, Oxadiargyle, Thiacloprid, Methomyl, and Thiamethoxam and a three years reclassification plan for fipronil, permethrin, cyfluthrin and amitraz from crop protection products to household use only. The three years plan is expected to come to an end by 1st January 2027.

While soliciting the cooperation of the public and all relevant stakeholders to rid the nation of these hazardous pesticides, the NAFDAC boss noted that pesticides are applied both indoors and outdoors for the management of pests, vector-borne diseases, and for crop protection, they are sometimes impregnated in textiles, paints, carpets, and treated wood to control pests and fungi.

“However, the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides is worrisome as it affects food safety and food security.

“The toxicity of pesticides is managed through stringent regulatory activities to reduce severe health implications on humans, crops, and the environment. This can be achieved through awareness and continual sensitisation of stakeholders. The dangers posed by pesticides are of immense concern to the Agency.”

This article originally appeared in The Nation


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