The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and Cowpea Association of Nigeria (CAN) have resolved to stop the negative application of pesticides during the storage of cowpea meant for local consumption and export.
This development came on the heels of a strategic meeting between the heads of both agencies.
It was revealed via a press statement signed by NAQS’ Head of Media Communications and Strategies, Dr. Gozie Nwodo.
The statement quoted the NAQS Director, Dr. Vincent Isegbe who called for better practices as it relates to pesticide application in cowpea.
He said it was pertinent for exporters who are keen on leveraging the export market for cowpea.
Isegbe said, “The pattern of boom and bust in cowpea export owes to the ingrained issue of high pesticide residue. The pesticides are largely introduced during the storage phase.
“The residue levels in the cowpea tend to rise above the maximum threshold set by certain customs union and this makes the product unacceptable in crucial destinations.
“We need to make a clean break from the imprudent application of storage pesticides and consolidate a reputation for producing and delivering cowpea that satisfies relevant quality criteria.”
On his part, CAN President, Shitu Mohammed decried the lack of awareness as the remote cause of high pesticide residue in the stored cowpeas.
According to him, the cowpea merchants applied these chemicals as protection against weevils and other pests.
However, this situation, he noted, was affecting the export market of the produce.
“They didn’t know that they were effectively de-marketing the produce and setting up themselves not to make a profit,” he averred.
He added, “The intervening period in which cowpea export has been at low ebb has given stakeholders a light-bulb moment.
“They are now ready to adapt. Everyone is eager to go organic so that stability, momentum, and growth can return to the value chain.”
Supporting the CAN boss’ claim, Isegbe noted that the importance of adopting better practices was to ensure that export-bound cowpeas meet international regulatory standards.
He further called on key players within the sub-sector to come up with a network of cooperatives, ensure acceptance, and adopt all principles of self-regulation.