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FG to phase out use of chemical fertilisers in agriculture

Audu Ogbeh. Photo: NAN

The Federal Government has said that it will gradually phase out the use of chemical fertilisers in agriculture to ensure production of healthy foods for the people.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this yesterday while inspecting the first organic banana plantation by an Indian firm, Contec Global Agro Limited, in Kwali.

Ogbeh, who expressed worry over the increasing liver and kidney diseases among young people, said the decision would help to eliminate dangerous elements from foods.

He noted that the move would also help to reduce the damages in the soil through the application of fertilisers.

“We are slowly going to begin to eliminate chemical fertilisers. They damage the soil of all kinds and over a while, you find out that the soil is no longer good for you because they destroy the microbes, which make the soil more productive. We need to make the food healthier because a lot of self-poisoning is going on in the country.

“Even the machines we use to grind tomatoes in the market, metal rubbing against metal; particles of heavy metals getting into the food.

“Suddenly, you see a young person of 20 years of age in the hospital suffering from liver and kidney problem and you ask, do you drink alcohol, he says no, then what is happening?

“We are not probing enough but we want to start in agriculture, eliminating dangerous elements from our food.

‘’The place to begin is the farm, right from where you are planting, from the soil, from the bio-chemicals, the water, all of that has to be controlled and then you have healthy foods,’’ the minister said.

The minister, who commended the owners of the organic banana farm, said that the Federal Government would continue to support both local and foreign investments in the agriculture sector.

He said: “We are happy that in spite of the difficulties people face, they still remain and invest.

“The President said stay close to the investors and give them all the support they need. If there are things you can’t handle yourself, come and tell me about them and I will do that.’’

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