FG warns against inappropriate use of antimicrobials in food production
The Federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned against the inappropriate use of antimicrobials, pesticides in food production and preservation, stating that it causes the spread of resistant infection.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony to commemorate the ‘2021 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week’ in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said that promotion of good practices in the sector would help fight against resistant infections.
According to him, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in recent times has been considered one of the most important threats to public health in all parts of the world as it drastically limits the ability to effectively treat common infections in humans and animals.
He said, “it has been projected that by 2050, AMR could account for up to 10million deaths annually, and about 4million of these deaths (representing 40percent) are likely to occur in Africa.
“AMR occurs when the disease agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, no longer respond to the action of antimicrobials which are hitherto susceptible.
“Within the agricultural and food resources sectors, a critical factor that promotes anti-microbial resistance is the slaughter, sale and consumption of animals treated with antimicrobials without observance of the withdrawal period. The result is the presence of residues in foods of animal origin such as meat, fish, eggs and milk.”
The minister also noted that the unregulated application of antibiotics and pesticides on crops during cultivation and post-harvest preservation stages can predispose to residues in these food crops.
Other factors that contribute to the emergence of the resistance pathogens according to him include: non-compliance with recommended biosecurity practices on the farm, lack of awareness and knowledge on antibiotic resistance, absence of regulatory legislation, and lack of enforcement of legislation when available.
“Farmers should not use antibiotics to promote growth in animals,and antibiotics should only be used in food-producing animals when prescribed by a Veterinary professional.
“Vaccinations, biosecurity measures, and good animal husbandry practices are reliable ways of reducing infections and the need to use antibiotics in livestock,” he said.