Pesticides cover a wide range of compounds including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators, among others, has been said by agriculturalists, to have impacted much in the growth of agricultural produce.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, (NIEHS), defined pesticide as any substance used to kill, repel, or control certain forms of plant or animal life that are considered to be pests.
They include herbicides for destroying weeds and other unwanted vegetation, insecticides for controlling a wide variety of insects, fungicides used to prevent the growth of molds and mildew, disinfectants for preventing the spread of bacteria, and compounds used to control mice and rats.
In Nigeria, scholars have applauded the application of pesticides for farm use, which helps to control pests and spread of bacteria.
According to a research on the Nigerian Journal of Agricultural Economics (NJAE), said pesticides are helpful when applied to the environment with the aim of suppressing the impact of plant and animal pests and to protect agricultural and industrial products.
‘’Pesticides can also improve the nutritional value of food and sometimes its safety. Thus, from this point of view, pesticides can be referred to as an economic, laborsaving and efficient tool of pest management with great popularity in most sectors of the agricultural production.
Crop farmers use a wide range of pesticides at different levels to reduce losses from pests and diseases.’’
The National Center for Biotechnology Information, (NCBI), also added that pesticides improve productivity due to several factors including the use of fertilizers, better varieties and use of machinery, improved quality of food, Protection of crop losses/yield reduction and protect other areas like transport, sport complex and building.
However, despite the popularity and extensive use of pesticides by farm households, serious concerns about the health risks arising from its exposure, have been raised.
NCBI, noted that the major effect of pesticide includes, its direct impacts on humans, hence, evidence show that some of these chemicals do pose a potential risk to humans and other life forms and unwanted side effects to the environment.
Pesticides also have impact on the society, through which there is contamination of soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants. Insecticides are generally the most acutely toxic class of pesticides, but herbicides can also pose risks to non-target organisms.
Responding to its effects, a consultant to the World Bank, Prof. Abel Ogunwale, on Monday, warned against the use of substandard, fake and counterfeit pesticides.
Ogunwale stated that substandard pesticides have serious implications for farmers, adding that such agro-chemicals not only fail to take care of pests, but also inflict damage on crops and the environment.
‘’They also result in losses to farmers because of lower yields,’’ he said.
Aside from revenue loss, Ogunwale said substandard pesticides have negative consequences for end users as well.
He noted that fertile lands require special care to ensure high productivity, resistance to pests and diseases, and maintenance of the soil biodiversity.
Ogunwale, urged the Federal government to take steps to control the flow of chemical pesticide