Agriculture experts, following the various reported cases of cancer arising from the use of agro-chemical Glyphosate commonly found in chemicals used by farmers, have called for increased education on proper use of agro-chemicals (fertilizer).
Their renewed call followed several reported cases in the United States of individuals who developed cancer through the use of the popular agro-chemical Glyphosate commonly known as ROUNDUP produced by MONSANTO.
Also, there was a third case of such massive penalty paid by MONSANTO since last year when this chemical was conclusively proven to be carcinogenic, and there are over 15,000 cases of such claims pending in various US courts.
Since the story broke, there have been reports of several companies marketing the chemical in Nigeria under different brand names such as TOUCHDOWN, SAROSATE, WIPEOUT, and there is hardly any commercial farmer that is not using it today in Nigeria.
Emmanuel Ladipo, professor of climatology, university of Lagos, confirmed to BDSUNDAY that there are several agro-chemical products that are carcinogenic and harmful to both health and environment adding that most farmers lack the knowledge of adverse effects of the use of this agro-chemical.
He said the “extent to which people are aware of the possible problems caused by these chemicals is where the problem is, a lot of people, farmers are not aware of adverse effect of the chemical usage until victims are diagnosed”.
Ladipo speaking further, stressed that the government through its health and agriculture agencies should ensure that these chemicals are not used in fragile environment, and encourage caution on the use and handling of agro-chemical products.
“We should encourage labeling on chemicals, users should be cautioned on ways of handling and using the products”.
Adekunle Lawal, vice president, Nigeria agro input dealers association, told BDSUNDAY that there are several other agricultural inputs that are cancerous and harmful for usage adding that problem of usage is a continued issue that must be addressed.
“It is the usage that causes the problems, lack of proper understanding of how to use the products. We have several items that are cancerous, but proper usage is the key to a safety”.
However, Fatima Aliyu, Desk officer, Rice value chain of the ministry of agriculture and rural development, addressing this concern said that effort are being made by the government to ensure control in fertilizer usage.
“We are working to ensure adequate control in the sales and usage of chemicals and fertilizer in our farms,” she said.
Tunde Bakare, a Benin-based medical practitioner, said that the effects of the use of cancerous fertilizers by farmers are evident in the country today as several diseases are being reported daily.
“The impact is evident in our society today, every day we see both the old and young suffering from various kinds of diseases, almost all the foods we consume comes from the farms, if the farm system is not cautioned on the use of these chemicals, there is little or nothing or we can do in the health sector, this is a very serious issue that we need to tackle urgently”.
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja