Kenneth Afor with agency report
A United Kingdom-based laboratory firm, Tentamus QTS Analytical Limited has certified homegrown Nigerian cowpeas, locally known as beans, free of pesticide and safe for consumption.
The breakthrough came from a Nigerian agricultural company, Gold-Forth Limited, which cultivated the crop here in Nigeria.
Dare Nana; managing director, Gold-Forth Limited, said that the breakthrough would go a long way in sustaining food security and foods produced in Nigeria.
He further added that he would advocate for the lifting of the ban of Nigeria’s cowpeas in Europe.
He said, “We believe that the test result of our beans will go a long way to add credence to the fact that Nigeria can produce and export food that is safe for human consumption and will support the position of the Federal Government that the ban should be lifted forthwith.”
In June 2015, European Food Safety Authority had banned the importation of some crops from Nigeria including sesame seeds, cowpeas (beans), melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips and palm oil on the ground they contained between 0.03mg/kg to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide (chemical preservatives) when the acceptable maximum residue limit was 0.01mg/kg and they were sent back into the country.
The ban was extended by three years instead of the intended six months because Nigeria failed to meet with required safety standards.
Despite large quantities of crops produced the country is still faced with storage challenges but farmers and agronomists are left with no choice but to apply pest resisting substances to prevent crop-related pests such as bean weevil and rodents from encroaching the crops.
Similarly, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO) lamented that about $9 billion is lost annually to post-harvest losses in the country and grains due to poor storage was inclusive.
However, Nana said that his company was able to combine the old and the new method of food preservation in order to achieve the breakthrough.
Nana hinted that Gold-Forth Limited will be extending training to farmers in its network to train on modern food preservation techniques and general agricultural practices.
He said, “As part of our corporate social responsibility, we are organizing training and knowledge dissemination activities for our farmers on modern agricultural practices, as well as safe food storage and handling through our Gold-Forth Farmers Network, a network that consists of over 2,500 farmers in several states of the federation.”