Beans storage: NEPC sensitises farmers on use of harmful substances

Beans Farmers, Merchants and Processors have been advised to stop indiscriminate use of pesticide residue in the storage of dried beans and other legume crops.

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) gave the advice at Awka during a one-day training to enlighten the beans farmers on suitable storage practices for dried beans.

The training was also to address excessive application of chemicals in food storages for export.

The programme, Technical session on development of Nigerian dried beans for export and presentation of hermetic storage bags as COVID-19 Support has a theme: “Conformity to European Union (EU) and Global Market Requirements to Enhance Competitiveness’’.

Executive Director, NEPEC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo said the technical session was to provide participants with practical knowledge on appropriate storage methods and address the use of harmful chemicals such as ‘snipper’ in the storage of dried beans.

“This workshop will focus on Agricultural Practices, good warehousing practices and good storage practices.’’

Mr Awolowo also explained that the training was an additional effort of the Agency to reduce incidents of rejection of agricultural exports by European countries and other parts of the World.

He said that the EU suspended the import of Nigerian dried beans due to the high amount of pesticide residue applied in the preservation, which was above the maximum residue level needed.

The executive director was represented by the South East Coordinator NEPC, Mr Jackson Arnold.

He said that the United Nation Industrial Organisation (UNIDO) under the Natural Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP) in collaboration with NEPC and other relevant stakeholders had embarked on backward integration.

This was achieved by training the farmers on good agricultural practices and developed export guidance for merchants and exporters in the dried beans value chain.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba was represented by the Director Technical Services, Mr Emeka Okolie.

The commissioner expressed delight at the training, and harped on the need for food hygiene and safety while appealing to farmers to produce cowpea organically noting that there were enough indigenous materials that could repel pests so as to give better yields.

Earlier, Assistant Director NEPC Mr Afolabi Bello said that International Business deals with quality which he noted made it imperative for farmers and exporters to seek quality production for their products so as to be allowed into the International market.

“If we don’t export, we can’t survive because we need foreign exchange; the essence of the training is to educate and enlighten farmers on the appropriate measures for food storage.’’

He, however, reminded participants that Anambra was the seventh state to benefit from the training.

Executive Director, Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Dr Patricia Pessu represented by Chief Research Officer of the Institute, Mrs Grace Otitodun educated the farmers on Appropriate Handling of Dried Beans for Export and Food Safety.

She said the training was mandatory to give adequate information on how to tackle improper handling and undue application of chemicals to dried beans during production and after harvest.  Bags of Hermetic were distributed to the farmers and merchants at the event.

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