In a bid to curb the negative application of pesticides during the storage of the cowpea meant for export and local consumption, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, and Cowpea Association of Nigeria CAN, are collaborating to stop the negative act. This was contained in a statement signed by the Head Media, Communications and Strategies, Dr. Gozie Nwodo, where the Director, NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isgebe, during a strategic engagement with the President CAN, Shitu Mohammed in Abuja, said it has become necessary to make a clean break from the way and manner pesticides are applied for cowpea also called beans if Nigerian exporters and farmers want to have access to market. According to Isegbe the country loses foreign exchange and thousands of jobs when the export of cowpea or any other agricultural commodity is suspended on account of a steady trend of intolerable quality defects. He said: “The pattern of boom and bust in cowpea export is dependent on 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.” Based on this, the NAQS boss called on stakeholders in the cowpea value chain to come up with a network of cooperatives, ensure acceptance, and embrace the principle of scrupulous self-regulation. He also pointed out that those in the value chain tend to make more profits and benefits when the business is up to international standards and keep to all regulations within and outside the country. Hence, it has become imperative for players in the cowpea industry to take the initiative to ensure that good agricultural practices suffice the entire process of producing export-destined cowpea in order to make brisk business. Speaking earlier, the President, CAN Shitu Mohammed, lamented a lack of awareness as the major cause of high pesticide residue at the storage endpoint. According to Mohammed stakeholders commonly regarded the liberal application of pesticides as a way of protecting their produce from weevils and preserving the material value of their produce without knowing they were effectively de-marketing the produce and impoverishing themselves. “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”, he stated. He also appreciated the effort of the NAQS boss for advancing the implementation of the work plan designed to remedy the contextual gaps that occasioned the recurring disruptions of cowpea export.