Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nigeria and Endosulfan

Nigeria is one of the most hopeful parts of the African continent. It is blessed with abundant natural resources, and has one of the most stable systems of governance in the region.

The North-Western part of Africa was once the cradle of modern agriculture. Archaeological finds indicate that this now arid part of the world was once verdant by appearance, generous in yield, and awash with more than all the fresh water bodies that residents could ever need.

Nigeria deserves to return to its ancient glory of sustainable living. How can it achieve this?

Agriculture technology has made rapid advances. Nigeria must strengthen its extension services to reach all its producers. Recent instances of children in the country consuming beans with illicit levels of pesticide residues suggest that Integrated Pest Management has not been implemented in the country.

Nigeria has responded to these tragedies by banning a host of useful pesticides including Endosulfan. What will this achieve? Higher import costs for replacement pesticides from the European Union and from a non-member country of the continent on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Farmers do not spray beans for fun. Pesticides cost money. Residues in excess of regulatory limits mean that farmers fail to spot and to control pest outbreaks in time. Bans will not change matters.

Endosulfan has a special place in Nigeria. It is economical to use and affordable for impoverished farmers. It has a broad spectrum capability to manage simultaneous pest incidences. Beneficial insects can re-enter sprayed fields with relative ease and speed. Endogram can help Nigeria raise yields, and keep its children safe as well.

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