Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono has revealed that Nigeria has recorded success in preventing the entry of invasive plant pests into the country.
The Minister made the declaration at the ongoing 31st Technical Consultation among Regional Plant Protection Organisation (TC-RPPOs) organized by the National Plant Protection Organisation for Nigeria, in collaboration with the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), the first of its kind in Africa.
According to Nanono, Nigeria has over the years fought against highly invasive plant pests such as Cocoa Swollen Shoot Disease, Tuta Absoluta, Tomato Moth and Banana Bunchy Top Disease.
He said plant pests such as Maize lethal Necrotic Disease, Fusarium Oxysporium spp Cubense (TR4) of banana, and Cassava Brown Streak Disease do not exist in Nigeria.
Nanono revealed that the feat was possible due to the instrumentality of an elaborate phytosanitary administrative structure and pest surveillance system which help immune the country against the invasion of the said plant pests.
He noted that the outcome of the conference will provide solutions that will protect the plant resource in Africa and also spread to nations under the ten (10) RPPOs while creating market access and enhancing international trade for pest-free plants and plant products.
Also speaking at the conference, the Director-General NAQS, Vincent Isegbe, who said as the human population increase, m it is piling up pressure on the food production system.
According to him, “Myriad protracted conflicts are engendering scorched earth devastation of plant resources and enabling vicious cycles of starvation, malnutrition, and poverty,”
Mr. Isegbe added that climate change which is previously reckoned as a future problem is now a present-day reality.
“It is altering landscapes and livelihoods without discrimination, imposing a new normal of aggravated drought and flooding as well as the ascendancy of a wave of strange pests,” he said.
NAQS boss reported that these challenges impinge on global food security and solving them requires concerted multilateral efforts.
On his part, an official of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Adeola Akinola, said that to sustain the containment of pests such as Fall Army Worm and Tuta absoluta, there must be a liberate effort towards harnessing the opportunity offered by the technical consultation to revisit all the existing International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, Phytosanitary Treatments and Diagnostic Protocols, with the aim of strengthening it.
The Technical Consultation comprises heads of plant protection bodies across the globe as well as staff members of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat domiciled in the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).