Okwe Obi, Abuja
Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), has countered the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), over the phasing out of methyl bromide which is used for pest control.
NAFDAC’s Director General, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye had warned farmers, exporters of agro-produce to desist from using the fumugant, insisting that it was harmful.
But in a statement, yesterday, Director General of NAQS, Dr Vincent Isegbe, maintained that methyl bromide should not be banned due to the lack of suitable alternatives, adding that it could only portend danger if not appropriately used.
His words: “the use of Methyl bromide is allowed for controlled quarantine use due to lack of suitable alternatives, especially where specific treatment for its use is made.
“For example, Mexico as a nation specifically requests the use of Methyl bromide in the treatment eatment of Hibiscus shipments to their country – a trade that yielded over $35 million for Nigeria within nine months in 2017 alone.
“Furthermore, under the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 15, Methyl bromide use for the treatment of solid wood packaging materials international trade is allowed.
“All agro-chemicals are potentially harmful if not used safely. The major concern regarding Methyl bromide use is its effect on climate change, specifically on the depletion of Ozone layer,” he said.
In addition, Isegbe noted that “the Montreal Protocol provides exemption for individual countries on its usage based on special quota system.
“The public may wish to note that NAFDAC regulates chemicals generally but their specific use in phytosanitary treatment is the statutory responsibility of NAQS as the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) for Nigeria under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) guidelines.
“Therefore, farmers of agricultural commodities, exporters, designated warehouse managers, the European Union and the public should note that NAQS will not permit the use of Methyl bromide indiscriminately,” he submitted.