The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, has decried the use of pesticide residue in storing dried beans and other legume crops.
Mr Awolowo spoke at a training programme on “Suitable Storage Practices for Dried Beans” on Friday in Awka.
Represented by Jackson Arnold, NEPC South-east coordinator, Mr Awolowo urged beans farmers, processors and marketers to desist from such practice.
He said the use of chemicals for crop preservation in the country had become worrisome.
According to him, the European Union (EU) suspended the import of Nigerian dried beans due to the high amount of pesticide residue applied in their preservation.
“It was found that the quantity was above the maximum residue level needed, this should call for worry.
“This training is good for farmers, processors and marketers in the dried beans value chain,” he said.
He said many Nigerian farmers did not pay attention to the type of chemicals they use in crop preservation.
“The chemicals they use may not be banned; the issue here is that we need to stick to the required quantity.
“This will reduce incidents of rejection of Nigerian agricultural exports by European countries and other parts of the world,” he said.
Also speaking, Afolabi Bello, an assistant director in NEPC, urged bean farmers and exporters to prioritise quality production of crops.
“Producing quality products will enable us compete at the international market. If we do not export, we cannot survive because we need foreign exchange,” he said.
Patricia Pessu, executive director, Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), described the training as a “good omen” for farmers and marketers.
Delivering a lecture titled “Appropriate Handling of Dried Beans for Export and Food Safety”, Ms Pessu said the training would tackle improper use of chemicals for food and crop storage.
Represented by Grace Otitodun, chief research officer, NSPRI, she urged the participants to make good use of knowledge gained from the programme.
The Commissioner for Agriculture in Anambra, Nnamdi Onukwuba, expressed the need for utmost hygiene in the food processing chain.
“Farmers should endeavour to produce beans and other legume crops organically, there are enough indigenous materials that can repel pests and enable better yields,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the theme of the programme was “Conformity to European Union (EU) and Global Market Requirements to Enhance Competitiveness”.
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