The House of Representatives at the plenary yesterday passed for a second reading a bill which seeks the establishment of the Nigerian Pesticide Council, to curb fake and contraband pesticides, which had found their way into the Nigerian markets.
The proposed legislation titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of Nigeria Pesticide Council, and Related Matters’, is sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Danduste Muntari.
Leading the debate on its general principles, Muntari said the bill is important to have a controlled mechanism to checkmate the agrochemical industry.
According to him, “There is rampant adulteration and faking of these plant protection products because of the absence of the Pesticide Bill, thereby causing colossal damage to the crop, soil and economy of millions of farmers in Nigeria, among others.”
He said the bill seeks to put stringent measures in the products purchase, use and application, as well as be a catalyst to promote food security in the country.
The lawmaker added that the legislation, when passed, would empower and enable the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to have a data bank of approved pesticides, existing manufacturers and importers and also a compendium of agro-dealers handling the products nationwide.
He said: “The importance of the Pesticide Bill in a developing country like Nigeria, which is the giant of Africa, and whose greatest comparative advantage lies in agriculture, cannot be overemphasised.
Pests and diseases cause colossal damage to crop yields and quality and therefore require quality and environmentally friendly products to control them, to avoid losses of between 50 and 100 per cent. The Pesticide Bill will also address product quality and efficacy.”