A faction of prominent agricultural scholars and journalists have established an alliance, the Coalition Against Paraquat , to reinforce advocacy against the herbicide’s importation and its use following increased concern over toxic nature of the herbicide.
Godwin Atser, digital extension and advisory services specialist for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) , disclosed this to reporters in Abuja.
According to Atser, the coalition is comprised of nine scientists and media practitioners with a wealth of experience in advocacy and a deep understanding of paraquat.
The stance against paraquat was focalized in December 2019 at a meeting of commissioners of agriculture, permanent secretaries of agriculture ministries and program managers of agricultural development programs from across the country, which was held at (IITA) , headquarters in Ibadan.
They noted that the concerns being raised about the product were too grave to be ignored and called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to pull the product from the Nigerian market.
In addition, scientists belonging to the Weed Science Society of Nigeria have joined others to advocate against the use of paraquate in the country.
In his report titled “The Rural Appraisal on the Use of Paraquat in Nigeria,” Udensi E. Udensi, a weed scientist at the University of Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, describes paraquat as “one of the most highly acute toxic herbicides being marketed in the last 60 years.”
“Paraquat remains one of the pesticides responsible for more fatal poisonings than any other pesticides substances. Workers who are exposed to Paraquat over a long period have been found to be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life.”.
One safe and effective weed killer recommended by scientists as an alternative to paraquat is glufosinate-ammonium, commonly traded as Lifeline, Slasha Gold, Basta, and Fascinate .