Ghanaians cautioned about misuse of pesticide
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana through its agency, the Presbyterian Agricultural Services, has raised serious concerns about the increasing rate at which people died through poisoning from pesticides and other agro-chemicals.
It has also described as disturbing the fact that 14 per cent of occupational injuries in the agricultural sector globally are linked to chemical- related causes.
It said even though Government might want to increase food security by way of introducing agro-chemicals into farming to enhance crop yield, the long-term and short-term effects of these chemicals were injurious and deadly.
According to the Church, the World Health Organization estimated that 1-5 million cases of pesticide poisoning occurred every year resulting in 20,000 fatalities among agricultural workers most of who were in developing countries such as Ghana.
Mr. Dan Kolbila, National Agriculture Coordinator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana raised these concerns in Tamale on Thursday during the launch of a campaign dubbed; “Misuse of pesticides in Ghana, the time to act is now”.
He said the consequences associated with mis-use and wrong application of chemicals did not only affect the farmer but the public in general and stressed the need for all stakeholders to make a collective effort at addressing the situation before it reached a crisis point.
Mr. Sylvester Adongo, a Retired Agriculturalist, observed that the mis-use of agro-chemicals was responsible for most of the cases of impotence among the male population in most of the country’s farming communities. He said most of the farmers mis-applied the agro-chemicals meant to kill pests but which rather turned to destroy their reproductive system rendering them impotent.
Mr. Adongo noted that even though the use of ‘DDT’, a poisonous chemical, had been banned in the country most fishermen and hunters still used the chemical in hunting and for fishing, after whicgh they sold the meat to consumers. He warned members of the public to be careful of the meat they consumed else they might be eating poison.
In a speech read for him, Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister expressed worry about the recent food poisoning that occurred in some parts of the Region, cautioning that farmers must be careful in their application of chemicals.
The Minister called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory bodies to institute measure that would enable them to monitor and ensure that the recurrent incidents of food poisoning was reduced to the barest minimal.
Mr. Christoper Y. Akai of the Northern Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said the Region’s use of chemicals had increased from 1,822 metric tons in 2009 to 2,130 metric tons in 2010, with 2,248 metric tons used so far in 2011.