The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has condemned the act of forcibly ripening of fruits and other food items with the use of harmful chemicals like carbide.
Chief Daniel Okafor, Vice National President of AFAN, told the newsmen in Abuja that the act was harmful to human health.
Some farmers and food traders usually use carbide to facilitate the ripening of food items and fruits like bananas, plantain, mangoes and paw-paw, among others.
Okafor, also the National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), said the development could be a contributory factor to the current widespread of various diseases across the country.
He said that the association would consider organising a meeting of its members and other agriculture stakeholders to sensitise them against the act.
“My own view about this matter is that it is not the farmers alone but even the marketers (traders), so whoever is doing that, we really condemn it.
“A lot of diseases that people are suffering from today is as a result of using carbide to make something ripen very quickly, it is very wrong.
“There are many ways you can ripen fruits naturally and everybody will be happy.
“One thing with fruits and vegetables is that most people want it quick and those doing the business also want it quick to meet demands but it is very wrong and most of them do not even know the health implications.
“ When you see those fruits and food, they are usually very attractive and people rush to buy them but many people are not aware of this and they eat them.
“With what is happening now, we are going to call a meeting on this issue and advise our farmers and sensitise them through networks and prints in local languages so that they can understand the implications.
“We will make sure that all stakeholders are involved in this like the traditional rulers, churches, emirs to disseminate the information,’’ he said.
The vice national president appealed to the media, NAFDAC, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), food safety organisations and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to urgently look into addressing the issue.