African Farmer

‘Crops grown with synthetic fertilisers, herbicides dangerous’

Crops grown with excessive synthetic fertilisers and herbicides are dangerous, Zonal Manager of Cross River Agricultural Development Project (CRADP), Mark Ewa, has warned.

Ewa told the Godshield Kanjal Journalism Foundation “fertilisers and herbicides used by farmers contain chemicals, which when overused, injure humans.”

He blamed the recourse to the trend on poor farm yields caused by climate change.

Ewa, whose zone covers northern senatorial district of the state, added to meet demands, most farmers overuse fertilisers and herbicides.

He said: “A farmer will spray his farm with herbicide over three times in a year. And most times, the crops rot in the soil, and when this food is consumed, it is harmful to health.

“You see people falling sick every now and then, and when you investigate, it may be linked to foods they eat.

“A lot of food items produced in Nigeria are not accepted in international market, especially yams. This is because farmers overuse chemicals in growing these crops.

“Our yams, shipped abroad, are turned down due to chemicals used in growing them.”

Ewa suggested training and retraining of farmers, on use of fertilisers and herbicides as well as implications of climate change.

“Farmers no longer follow instructions and recommended measurement in application of fertiliser and herbicide.

“You will see a farmer using a full 50kg bag of fertiliser on a small farm. And this farmer will apply this fertiliser twice on the crops before harvesting and the duration for harvesting is very short,” he said.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had predicted the weather for Cross River North in early 2023.

The prediction shows that the zone will experience severe drought between June to July and flooding in September

However, Ewa argued that farmers are not aware of these weather predictions due to a lack of access to information.

Ewa used the opportunity to list the lack of staffing and funding as hindrances to farmers’ training by the CRADP.

The entire Ogoja Local Government Area has only five agricultural extension workers, in Yala we have three extension workers, in Bekwara we have one extension worker, in Obudu, one, in Obanliku, one, making a total of 11 extension workers in the entire zone.

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