Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has challenged farmers and other stakeholders to always carry out periodic examination of their products. This according to him is to limit the chances of fungal contamination, over use of insecticides and protect public health. He said the move will also secure more markets for Nigeria’s agro-commodities
Speaking in Bayelsa State at a one-day stakeholders’ sensitization workshop on the effects of mycotoxins on agricultural commodities, health and trade, the Minister said it is imperative for farmers and governmental agencies to adapt a better method to prevent fungal contamination of agricultural commodities during growing period, storage, handling, processing and transportation.
The Minister explained that over the years Nigeria’s agricultural products had been exposed to pesticide residues and mycotoxins-producing fungal, resulting in several rejections of some Nigeria’s agricultural produce by some trading partners, particularly the European Union (EU).
He noted that the risk of mycotoxins may affect growth performance and could be hazardous to consumers by reducing the quality of products and its market value, thereby resulting in commodity rejection in the international market.
In a statement the Minister said “These poisonous toxins produced by certain species of fungi, have profound adverse effects on the health of animals and humans, as they consume food from crops, poultry products, meat and fish infected by mycotoxins and have resulted in the cause of human and animal illnesses and deaths.”