Eighty percent of tomato pastes imported into the country are poisonous and not fit for human consumption, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said.

The minister made the disclosure during budget defence at the National Assembly yesterday.

He said laboratory tests conducted by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) revealed that the imported pastes are harmful to human health.

Ogbeh who attributed the escalation of kidney, liver and cancer diseases in the country to consumption of poisonous preserved foods, said the Federal Government will soon ban the importation of tomato paste.

The minister while reiterating the commitment of government to address the increasing prices of food items in the country, quoted Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as saying Nigeria’s grains production has risen by 11 percent.

He said the N67billion debt incurred during President Goodluck Jonathan affected the performance of the ministry in 2016.

Ogbeh said from the N21billion that was released for capital expenditure to the ministry in 2016, N17billion was used to offset part of the debt.

“Those we owed were on us. We tried what we could. President Muhammadu Buhari also gave us N20billion to pay part of the debt,” he said.