By Ngozi Onyeakusi — The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, yesterday warned traders against the use of chemical and harmful preservatives.

Ogbeh, who spoke during an interview with journalists in Otukpo, Benue State, warned that the act was detrimental to human health and the environment.

“Sniper is very dangerous; people also use carbide to ripen bananas and some other fruits; people do all kinds of things.

Suddenly, people are developing different diseases, something is wrong,’’ he said, in reaction to the reported use of 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate, otherwise marketed and known as sniper, to preserve beans by retailers.

He appealed to foodstuff and fruit sellers and others Nigerians to adopt natural means of preservation.

The minister said that the ministry would collaborate with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to create more awareness on the need for citizens not to use chemicals for food preservation and fruit ripening.

“We appeal that they use natural means such as pepper to prevent weevils in beans instead of sniper. We hear this and we send people to warn them but the ministry can’t catch everybody.

“We are going to use the National Orientation Agency and state ministries of agriculture to create awareness on the need for people to desist from these acts.

‚ÄúWe just have to keep educating people,‚ÄĚ he said.