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Use of chemicals to ripen fruits harmful to health, AFAN warns farmers, traders

Valentine Chinyem

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The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has condemned the use of chemicals to aid the early ripening of fruits and farm produce.

The Vice National President of AFAN, Daniel Okafor, while addressing journalists in Abuja, said the use of chemicals such as carbide on farm produce, are harmful to human health.

He said farmers are not the only ones involved in this act, but traders as well. He said ripening of fruits such as bananas, plantain, mangoes, paw-paw and many others, with chemicals are wrong and could be the reason behind the widespread of various diseases in the country.

Okafor, who is also the National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), said the association would consider organising a meeting of its members and other agriculture stakeholders to sensitise them against the act.

“My own view about this matter is that it is not the farmers alone but even the marketers (traders), so whoever is doing that, we really condemn it.

“A lot of diseases that people are suffering from today is as a result of using carbide to make something ripen very quickly, it is very wrong.

“There are many ways you can ripen fruits naturally and everybody will be happy.

“One thing with fruits and vegetables is that most people want it quick and those doing the business also want it quick to meet demands but it is very wrong and most of them do not even know the health implications.

“When you see those fruits and food, they are usually very attractive and people rush to buy them but many people are not aware of this and they eat them.

“With what is happening now, we are going to call a meeting on this issue and advise our farmers and sensitise them through networks and prints in local languages so that they can understand the implications.

“We will make sure that all stakeholders are involved in this like the traditional rulers, churches, emirs to disseminate the information,’’ he said.

He ended by appealing to the media, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), food safety organisations and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to urgently look into the predicament.

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