Farmers raise alarm over agrochemicals adulteration

 

The growing market for agrochemicals estimated to be in excess of $308.92 billion by 2025 has attracted counterfeiters whose activities are flooding the country with huge quantities of fake products.

It is estimated that over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s close to 190 million people are said to be farmers.

Agrochemicals, such as fertiliser, pesticides, fungicides and insecticides are commonly used in agriculture to control weeds, pests, improve crop performance and yields.

Fraudsters and counterfeiters are eying the global agrochemical market estimated to net $266 billion in 2021, according to statistics.

Experts say over 20 percent  of that market share will be lost globally to the adulteration and counterfeiting industry.

It is believed that the growing agrochemicals market in Nigeria is driven by a rapid population expansion, demand for food and more people showing interest in farming.

Recently, regulators, such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC) raised the alarm over the influx of adulterated and substandard agro-chemicals in many stores across the country.

Speaking in Kano during the public sensitisation workshop organised by the duo to educate farmers and agro-chemical dealers on the dangers of substandard and adulterated inputs in manufacturing process and farming,  NAFDAC Director-General Dr. Moji Christiana Adeyeye said the situation was counterproductive to the country’s drive to rejuvenate its agro-economy, and pledged the preparedness of her agency to deal decisively with those on the wrong side of the law.

Contributing SON Director-GEneral Mr. Osita  Aboloma said most of the products in the markets are substandard and adulterated.

According to him, investigations by his agency reveal that a larger percentage of agrochemicals in the market are substandard, containing contaminated contents or do not contain any active ingredients.

Others country of origin, he said, are falsified or re-labelled or expired.

Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kano State chapter, Farouq Rabi’u Mudi, said for long, farmers in the Northwest region had been suffering losses in their yearly output due to wrong use of substandard chemicals on their farmlands.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has warned: “Every pesticide user should avoid choosing products whose origin is not guaranteed. The efficacy of the products cannot be guaranteed and they can be more toxic to humans and the environment than products from a bona fide source as they contain toxic impurities normally eliminated by reputable manufacturers.”

Experts at Arjo Solution, an international firm in authentication and traceability solutions to combat counterfeiting, parallel markets and illicit trade said: “The use of fake products generates lands depletion, compromises crop yield and threaten farmers’ health.”

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