Legal Informer: Regulation and Control of Pesticides
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and control (NAFDAC) by its press release on the ban, phase-out and re-classification of pesticides dated 2 May 2023, raised its concern on the dangers posed by certain pesticides and the report of the study conducted by Heinrich Boll Foundation. According to the Agency, the toxicity associated with the misuse and abuse of pesticides is worrisome as it affects food safety and food security, this toxicity of pesticides is managed through stringent regulatory activities to reduce severe health implications on humans, crops, and the environment.
It is the mandate of the Agency to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale, and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water, detergents, and chemicals (regulated products). Section 2 of the NAFDAC Pesticide Registration Regulations 2021 (the Regulation) prohibits the manufacture, formulation, importation, exportation,
advertisement, sale, distribution, or use of any pesticide which has not been registered in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation. The regulation further provides that a person shall not submit any application for the registration of pesticide except such pesticide is to be manufactured or formulated in an establishment known, acceptable and approved by the Agency. Efficacy assessment of a new pesticide is also to be carried out.
For proper usage of the pesticides by farmers, the Agency requires that all pesticides shall be legibly labelled in English language in accordance with the Agency’s labelling requirements. The instructions for use of the pesticide products shall include dosage and direction for use, fields of application, method of application, targeted pest, re-entry period, pre-harvest period and target crops. Labelling shall be informative, accurate and shall not be false or misleading.
The validity of a pesticide registration under the Regulation shall be five (5) years and the Agency reserves the right to suspend or revoke a person’s certificate of registration where the quality, safety and efficacy has not been complied with or the grounds on which the pesticide was registered was later found to be false or incomplete. Also, where new information has become available to the Agency which portrays the pesticide as unsafe, dangerous, or ineffective the Agency may revoke the certificate of registration. Contravention of any of these provisions
attracts certain penalties including a fine or imprisonment as provided under Section 14 of the Regulation.
The food safety and agrochemical safety are of great importance to the nation, for it to achieve its food security goals. We encourage importers and manufactures of pesticides to strictly adhere to regulatory requirements and conduct a risk assessment of these pesticides on human lives, the environment, plants, and animals before importation. The Agency has provided several guidelines for the registration of imported pesticides, made in Nigeria pesticides and guidelines for issuance of
permit to import bulk pesticides, agrochemicals, and fertilizers. Proper documentation and registration of such products is therefore crucial.
The Agency in its press release included that an action plan has been devised to ban/phase-out certain active ingredients in pesticides and the re-classification of some. This is commendable and we hope that there would be an effective implementation of the plan. It is also advised that farmers be properly sensitized on the use of pesticides, understanding labelling and active ingredients of these products.