Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NIHORT Warns Against use of Carbide to Ripen Banana

The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) has called on Nigerians to desist from using calcium carbide and other chemicals to force the artificial ripening of bananas due to their negative implications on human health.

The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) has called on Nigerians to desist from using calcium carbide and other chemicals to force the artificial ripening of bananas due to their negative implications on human health.

The General Manager, NIHORT Ventures Limited, Dr. Joel Akinfisoye, issued the warning in Lafia, Nasarawa State, at a four-day women and youth empowerment program in horticulture, plantain and banana establishment, and telfairia production, facilitated by Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

Calcium carbide (CaC2) is a chemical compound containing arsenic and phosphorus that has been scientifically proven to contain harmful carcinogenic properties. The chemical is known to be capable of serious adverse effects and possible fatalities associated with consumption of food containing it.

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One way of detecting fruits or produce artificially ripened in this manner is by careful physical examination before purchase, as forcefully ripened fruits usually do not have uniform colors; they appear with yellow and green patches, are hard in texture, low in flavor, less juicy, and often will not be as sweet as they should be.

According to Akinfisoye, it is easy to ripen bananas naturally by allowing them to mature on the tree, then tying them in an enclosure that prevents air entry, and within a short time, they will ripen naturally.

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Also speaking at the event was the director of the institute, Dr. Mohammed Lawal, who pointed out that plantain, banana, and telfairia value chain development is valuable for nutritional and social economic security for millions of Nigerians.

“Plantain and banana are important staple food crops and sources of income, especially for small-scale farmers. They can also serve as industrial raw materials for beverage industries producing baby food. The commodities are commercially viable and money-making spinners for those who understand the value chain.

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