Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said Nigeria will no longer be a dumping ground for chemicals banned in other countries.
This was contained in a statement issued by Mr. Olusayo Akintola, the resident media consultant of NAFDAC.
Adeyeye also explained that it was not true that 40 percent of the registered brands of pesticide products in Nigeria were banned or restricted for use by European Union.
“The agency has put in place procedures to enable it to take regulatory decisions and determine whether an active ingredient should be banned or restricted.
“NAFDAC 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.
“NAFDAC is ISO: 900: 2015 Quality Management System (QMS) and a certified organization that has put in place procedures that enable the agency take regulatory decisions to determine whether an active ingredient should be banned or restricted.
“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 said.
She said 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 the agency are allowed into the country, appointed testing agents (CRIA) and laboratories to conduct tests and forward results to the agency before any pesticide is shipped in.
Adeyeye stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) names four toxicity classes of pesticides: Class I – a: extremely hazardous, Class I – b: highly hazardous, Class II: moderately hazardous, Class III: slightly hazardous, Class U: Unlikely to present an acute hazard.
She said these classifications are for guidance purposes to enable users to take necessary precautionary measures and to ensure the safety of food for humans, animals, and the environment.
Adequate quality control tests, she said, are carried out by the agency before granting certifications for all products that are either imported or manufactured within the country.
The NAFDAC boss 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.
She said that all was in the aim to establish that a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) was in place to ensure that product manufactured meets the quality standard specification for the intended use.
Other regulatory activities she said include but 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 and unregistered products.
She added that the agency also does other regulatory activities such as destruction of destruction and seized of 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 for World Trade Organisation (WTO) to take note.
She explained that products with active ingredients that are accepted by other codex member countries including Nigeria are not allowed into the EU.
Adeyeye pointed out that lack of scientific data in Nigeria has been identified as a gap why the country participants refrain from raising observations during codex meetings and have no choice but to go by the general codex Alimentarius resolutions.
The NAFDAC boss called on all relevant research institutions to generate enough data and make available such data for the Nigerian team that attends the Codex Committee meeting on Pesticides Residues (CCPR) to advance the country’s interest.
She said that all the pesticides approved for use by NAFDAC are also in use in other parts of the world, and called on investors to feel free and be confident to invest in Agricultural production in Nigeria.
She reiterated the agency’s determination and assurance to Nigerians that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that food products available to Nigerians are safe and wholesome.
She said that NAFDAC in the last four years of her administration has been repositioned to effectively regulate all agricultural inputs such as pesticides, and agrochemicals amidst other regulated products.
“The quality and safety of the inputs have a direct impact on the food from the farms and the health of humans, animals, and plants in line with the federal government agenda and investment in agriculture.
“The agency wishes to encourage investors to consider investing in agricultural production so that the creation of jobs and the ability to feed ourselves as a nation without depending too much on foreign exchange can be achieved.
‘’It is noteworthy that a lot of regulatory activities have been carried out to ensure that all inputs regulated by NAFDAC required in the production of safe food are safe, efficacious, and of the right quality.
“Local production of food is highly encouraged, in the last four years, has reviewed her regulations, guidelines and strengthen collaboration with Ministry, Department, and Agencies (MDA) and stakeholders to ensure effective regulations.
“Such collaborative efforts have been recorded in agrochemicals regulation, NAFDAC has reviewed the safety of all registered agrochemicals in Nigeria in consultation with relevant stakeholders,” she stressed.
Adeyeye said a four year initiation plan was rolled out to phase-out plan for obsolete and some hazardous agrochemicals adding that such phase-out plan is currently running for Paraquat, which would be phase-out in 2024 and Atrazine in 2025.
According to her 100ml pack size of Dichlorvosis was already banned due to inappropriate use and that about 30 pesticides have been banned in Nigeria.
She, therefore, advised the general public to visit the NAFDAC website (www.nafdac.gov.ng) for detail of banned pesticides.