Pesticides are harming Nigeria: it’s time to update the law


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Jane Ezirigwe, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa

The European Union has banned the use of several pesticides, and heavily restricted others. This is because of their potential health effects or environmental contamination, or because there’s not enough data to be sure that they aren’t harmful. Over 50% of these pesticides are still registered in Nigeria, however.

Nigeria’s use of such pesticides is the reason some markets, including the EU and the US, reject the country’s agricultural products. Yet some countries with strict regulations at home still export the banned pesticides to countries like Nigeria.

As a researcher in the field of food and agricultural law, international trade and natural resource development, I’ve explored the laws and regulations that govern the use of pesticides. My research highlights the gaps that undermine export opportunities.

I identified four major factors that make Nigeria’s pesticide regulations ineffective. They are: outdated laws; overlapping regulatory functions; resource limitations; and the influence of multinationals.

Good pesticide regulation should do three main things: protect people and the planet, support effective pest control, and provide redress when harm occurs.

Better regulation will make Nigeria’s agricultural products safer for local consumption and export.

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