There is brewing crisis as a result of the use of harmful chemicals for the preservation of agricultural produce by farmers and dealers in the sector.

This is according to the federal government, following the recent discovery where a trader who sells beans was seen using a poisonous chemical known as Sniper, to preserve the commodity.

To address the development, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, met with heads of agencies from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as those from other ministries at the headquarters of the FMARD in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking to his guests, Ogbeh said: “You’ve heard the whole detail, it is now Sniper. But there are other problems we have. There are food sellers in Nigeria who use calcium carbide to ripen bananas, mangoes and avocado pears and this is not good for our health.

“What we see now is the use of Sniper and they say it damages the lungs if it is put in your food. We also have weevil control in beans and people use aluminium phosphate. We have other challenges like the preservation of chicken with formaldehyde, particularly smuggled chicken from across the borders.”

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According to Ogbeh, this is real “crisis” and that the challenge “is how do we get people to know that this is bad?”

“We here will understand very easily. Downstream where the farmers and small buyers are, they just don’t know.

“No human being is safe in an environment like this because when they cook the beans you don’t know where it came from, you don’t know how much Sniper is in it,” he said.

The minister told officials from the various agencies that they must work together to educate Nigerians on why some chemicals must not be used for the preservation of agricultural produce.

“At the end of this meeting, we have to develop a very strong strategy and committee for reaching farmers, fabricators, buyers and so on, everywhere,” he said.

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