Crop farmers have been cautioned against using reagents to ripen fruits and vegetables in a bid to get quick profits.
A university lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU), Dr Dan Agboola, warned that such unduly-ripened fruits cause health complications.
The don raised the alarm while speaking at a weekly workshop in Lagos organised by Ojo farmers in conjunction with Alpha Feed Limited.
According to organisers, the workshop is an initiative to keep farmers abreast of innovation in modern agricultural practices and to further enhance their productivity.
Agboola, who is also a microbiologist, explained that the consumption of artificially-ripened vegetables and fruits was a major cause of a number of illnesses among many Nigerians.
The expert disclosed that reagent chemicals contain traces of arsenic and phosphorus which are hazardous to the human body.
He said, “Many farmers are in a hurry to harvest, and as such, they end up spraying the produce with calcium carbide ignorantly to ripen them faster.
“Anytime you buy ripe plantain, banana, mangoes and others in the market, there are chances you are buying the ones ripened with calcium carbide.”
Agboola urged farmers to be patient and allow their produce to mature and ripe naturally before harvesting them.
“All produce have a maturity period and farmers know this very well, there is no short cut with nature,” he pointed out.
The microbiologist also enjoined farmers to always seek professional advice on better and improved methods of insecticide and pesticide application so as to prevent endangering people’s lives.
Agboola also called on Nigerians to avoid unnaturally prepared food items to forestall health crises such as cancers, among other diseases.