The Alliance for Action on Pesticide in Nigeria (AAPN) has asked the Nigerian government to develop policies and legislation to ban the sale of toxic pesticides.
AAPN is also committed to a global ban on the production, storage and trade of highly hazardous active ingredients of pesticides, which is legally binding under international law.
This is stated in a communiqué and Call for Action issued by AAPN in Abuja.
AAPN is a coalition of more than 40 civil society organisations, academia, independent scientists and media professionals committed to phase out all highly hazardous pesticides (HHP), obsolete and counterfeit pesticides from Nigeria and West Africa. AAPN seeks to achieve this through evidence-based advocacy, raising public awareness, training and strengthening institutions about the dangers of pesticides, and promoting more sustainable farming systems and healthy and safer food.
The communiqué stated: “The Nigerian government should start developing pesticide policies and legislation that will ensure that the most toxic pesticides are banned, the use of pesticides in general is reduced and nature-based alternatives (such as agricultural ecology) are promoted.
He also urged the Nigerian government to extend the mandates of the relevant MDAs, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of the Environment, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and their executive departments and agencies, including NAQS. FMARD-FISS, NAFDAC, NESREA.
According to AAPN, this is to ensure proper division of labor and synergy in their role in pesticide regulation and food safety.
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The communiqué also called on the National Agrncy for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to update and publish its 14-year list of banned pesticides, and to develop and implement a phase-out plan for all registered but very dangerous pesticides in Nigeria. .
“The Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives must continue to open up the space for public participation and involvement in developing pesticide legislation for Nigerians. The Committee must ensure that pesticide legislation is primarily in the interest of protecting the health of Nigerians and our environment, rather than maximizing the profits of agribusinesses.
“The National Assembly and the office of the presidency should approve budgetary provisions to fund National Chemical Management Committee meetings to improve inter-ministerial cooperation to end the mismanagement of HHPs and other highly toxic chemicals in the sectors.
“At the international level, AAPN wants the FAO and WHO to publish a list of highly dangerous active ingredients of pesticides, which is prepared according to their own criteria and is regularly updated. This would form the basis for a worldwide ban – binding under international law – on the production, storage and trade of the active ingredients listed there.
“Given the documented human rights violations, the assumption that pesticides are used ‘safely’ is an illusion. In order to protect people and the environment against the consequences of the use of pesticides, the legal regulation must therefore be tightened up.
“The EU and countries that continue to export highly dangerous pesticides that have been banned in their markets must stop the production and sale of such pesticides, ending their unethical double standards policy.
“Whether in pure form or as a component of pesticide products, active ingredients that are banned in the EU or classified as very hazardous by WHO and/or EU categories cannot be traded by companies operating in Germany and the EU.
“To date, there are no binding EU-level regulations that could prevent the export of active ingredients that are banned within the EU. The European Commission’s draft chemicals strategy should strengthen efforts to prevent the export of hazardous chemicals that are banned in the EU.
“The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive is due to be published shortly to support the reduction of pesticide use in the EU. This would be the right message to Nigeria.
“The EU and international development agencies should make every effort to support resilient agricultural production, emphasizing the need for more agro-ecological strategies to ensure food sovereignty in Nigeria.
“The use of HHPs and pesticides that are banned elsewhere in the world should not be recommended in any of the development projects. Agricultural development projects should not have any link with the pesticide industry,” the communiqué added.