The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has urged Nigerians to shun the patronage of imported food items and to promote the consumption of locally grown food.
Mrs Ruth Agbo, NANTS National woman leader, made the appeal at a campaign against ‘Illegal Importation of Foods and Indiscriminate use of chemical on food items’, in Abuja.
She said it had become necessary to create awareness on the importance of consuming locally grown food in the country.
“This campaign is very important because it is in line with the government’s policy on import substitution, which advocates that we should be able to eat what we produce in this country.
“Knowing full well that everything that is imported into the country, especially as it concerns to what we eat, is usually not in perfect condition for our health.
“We are doing this campaign against illegal importation of foods and indiscriminate use of chemical in food for preservation.
“Some of our traders are still using chemicals to preserve their food, so this is also an avenue to sensitise them to know that some of these chemicals are very harmful,’’ she said
Agbo added that part of what informed the campaign was the video showing a man using a chemical substance called sniper to preserve beans.
This is an act of ignorance which will cause more harm than good, she said.
“So, our aim also is to sensitise these women traders on the best practices because nobody should be a victim of ignorance.
“We are carrying a massive senitisation across our markets across the country, especially in the rural areas, to let them know the right thing,’’ she added.
She noted that NANTS had collaborated with stakeholders like Nigerian Customs Service, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control, Ministry of Agriculture and rural development, among others.
Also, Mrs Kareem Babangida, Director, Extension Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the campaign would help to sensitise Nigerians to the need to stop consuming imported food products.
“Such foods are rice, fish and poultry products; the ones produced here are healthier and should be consumed by Nigerians.
“Like the poultry products, most of them are preserved with chemicals used for preserving dead bodies and it is very dangerous to our health,’’ she said.
According to her, if Nigerians consume what is produced in the country, they will be healthier.
She added that promoting locally produced food would also help to grow the economy to growth and development.
More than 1,000 women farmers and traders participated in the campaign to the major markets in the Federal Capital Territory.