From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Environmental expert, Amos Ishaya has said that not less than 94.2% women farmers use synthetic chemical pesticides to manage pest issues in their farms without knowledge of its health implications.
Ishaya, in Abuja, yesterday at a press conference organized by Smallholder Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria, (SWOFON) said it was based on survey conducted in four north central states; Benue Nasarawa, Pleatue and Abuja.
He lamented that most of the pesticides that have been banned by the Federal Government are still in circulation by the dealers.
“94.2% Of the surveyed women farmers use synthetic chemical pesticides to manage pest issues in their farms while 5.87% do not use any synthetic chemical pesticide products to tackle pest challenges.
73.8% aside from using synthetic chemical pesticides, use organic pest control methods.
Over 85% of the surveyed small-scale women farmers do not use any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Such as facemasks, gloves, boots, eye-protecting goggles or a respiratory mask. any simal scale farmers cannot afford the PPEs. In most cases, the PPEs are not even available as claimed by agro-dealers and pesticide producers.
The survey results among the interviewed women farmers show that over 80% of the pesticides products and their active ingredients in use belong to the category of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), and in many instances have lost approval in countries and regions w high safety standards SUch as the European Union (EU).
About 75% of the women farmers surveyed who use chemical pesticides have experienced some health challenges that they atributed to the pesticide use. Symptoms like difficulty in breathing, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, eye problems, skin rashes, catarrh, diarthoea, and respiratory problems were aimong the most comimon nealtn efects reported.”