As part of efforts to prevent residents from consuming unwholesome fruits and vegetables, the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), in conjunction with the Lagos State Market Development Board, Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment as well as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has commenced talks and sensitisation campaigns for market traders across the State.
General Manager of LASCOPA, Mrs Kemi Olugbode, revealed that the essence of the project tagged ‘Fruits and Vegetables Handling, Packaging and Hygiene’ campaign, was to proactively address the potential challenges inherent in the management and sales of the products.
She noted that fruits and vegetables give certain vitamins and minerals that provide immense benefits to man, saying that, therefore, the preservation of the products from the point of handling to the market place and finally to the consumers’ table is essential to prevent the sale and consumption of hazardous products.
Continuing, she said that LASCOPA became interested in scrutinising the handling, packaging, and hygiene of fruits and vegetable marketing in view of stories last year that certain people use chemicals to ripen plantains and other consumable crops.
Mrs Olugbode said that LASCOPA decided to collaborate with other relevant Agencies of Government from both the state and the federal levels on the campaign, which has commenced at the Mile-12 and Ikosi Markets, because of the need to address the issue holistically and ensure compliance with acceptable standards.
Addressing the market executives at the Mile 12 and Ikosi markets, Mr Deji Badejo, leader of the team, sought the collaboration of market leaders to enable the team to succeed in its assignment.
He stressed the need for traders to ensure that fruits and vegetables sold to consumers are not hazardous, adding that the team would require samples of the products for laboratory analysis in order to ascertain their wholesomeness and proffer advice on the way forward.
Responding, Shehu Usman, the Financial Secretary of Mile 12 Market promised the support and collaboration of the market towards the success of the project and solicited the assistance of government in the provision of storage facilities in the market.
In the same vein, Chairman of the Fruits Market of Ikosi, Moshobolaje Ojetoye, said that traders in the market have desisted from ripening fruits using chemicals and also promised to collaborate with the team.