Fruits are nutritionally rich and greatly needed for vitality. Nature blessed us with a whole lot of fruits such as mangoes, bananas, apples, pineapple and so on for consumption. At the market, especially during this season, you will see variety and abundance of fruits displayed for sale. These fruits are mostly sold at exorbitant prices, yet we buy and consume them for their high nutritional value.
One can obtain these fruits by cultivating their seeds and harvesting when ripe. This is motly done by farmers who engage in planting the seeds, to harvest for monetary value. Sad to note that, some of these fruits we consume for good health have become fruits of destruction.
It is sad what people are willing to do for quick cash. Greed and impatience have eaten deep into most people, who can do “anything” for money. Many traders/middle men have devised evil ways of forcing unwholesome fruits on us, the consumers. Relatedly, some farmers/traders are discovered to pluck some of these fruits before they get ripe. They hasten the ripening with the use of some chemicals such as Calcium Carbide, and formalin. These chemical agents are used for mangoes, bananas, jackfruits, litchis and other fruits. To carry out this destructive act, packets of calcium carbide powder are kept in the container of fruits, where contact with moisture produces acetylene gas. This chemical acts as a ripening agent.
The practice of using these chemicals such as Calcium Carbide and formalin for the ripening of fruits is horrendous, imposes danger to one’s health and could lead to death. According to investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NANS) some unscrupulous traders were fond of applying various chemicals, including Calcium Carbide (CaC2) and formalin, to force-ripe fruits for sale to unsuspecting consumers.
According to the Vanguard Newspaper (2023), a medical expert, Dr Jude Uwar, warned that those who resort to using chemicals to ripen fruits to make brisk businesses are indirectly killing their fellow beings. He cautioned that the practice is injurious to the health of the direct consumers, and it is responsible for the high rate of cancer in society. It’s so disheartening to know that some of these fruits have been made harmful by the very beings who are supposed to consume them or trade them. Further investigations have shown that certain illnesses that we suffer from, are a result of the bad chemicals introduced in fruits and foods we consume.
According to the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN)(2023), efforts have been made to dissuade farmers from using chemicals to ripen any fruit. They stated that they now emphasize the use of organic fertilizers to check the use of dangerous chemicals on their farms. Furthermore, it was asserted that certain measures have been put in place to discourage such dastardly acts, yet the persists and is even getting worse.
The tips and appearances of some of these fruits clearly show that they were forced riped. It is sad to note that one needs to desist from eating some fruits unless sure of the ripening process. I love mangoes but most times nowadays, I suffer from diarrhoea whenever I eat mango. No wonder many countries have banned the importation of foods, especially fruits from Nigeria. Nigerian agricultural produces are generally seen as unhealthy in the international community.
The question is, where are the Ministry of Agriculture and NAFDAC?
I hope and pray that one day, the relevant agencies in charge of food control will set standard measures to prohibit the use of chemicals on fruits. In addition, there should be sanctions aimed at deterring perpetrators.
Meanwhile, be cautious of what you eat. Not all fruits that glitter are good for consumption