The Minister of agriculture, Lamin Dibba, has promised urgent actions to dispose of thousands of bags of ‘toxic fertilizer’ in state custody.
The Gambia government in 2009 purchased 9, 500 tons of fertilizer at a tune of 130, 800, 000 Million Dalasis.
The fertilizer was meant to subsidise Gambian farmers but was later discovered outdated and spoilt. Lawmakers told Minister Dibba on Monday that the toxic fertilizer is now becoming a health concern for the citizens.
“I have learnt about the stock of expired fertilizer in Mansakonko through the correspondents I am now responding to it,” he said, in response to concerns raised by lawmakers.
“… I have sent a request to the National Environment Agency, the authorized institution for hazardous substances to assess and advise on the safe disposal of the expired fertilizer stored for years posing health hazard to human and animal within the vicinity.”
The Minister said he expects a response from the NEA this week, from where actions will be taken.
Dibba said his ministry cannot dispose the fertilizer in the absence of an advice from the environment agency, even though the advice has already been given. The NEA has issued an advice on the issue since 2014, recommending that a sample be sent to Dakar for testing.
Dibba said the fertilizer is confirmed to be toxic and can harm both the environment and animals.
“This question concerning about the fertilizer has been asked here so many times and we are never given an accurate answer… We want to know when this fertilizer will be removed without delay and dumb at a safe place. Now, this is becoming a very dangerous thing that can affect human and animals alike… This house is considering this very urgent now and we want a concrete action,” Demba Sowe of Gambia Democratic Congress said.
The member for Wuli West have asked Dibba to make an inquiry as to places where there is fertilizer and make an inventory in order to ensure safe disposal.