Agric experts raise concern over misuse of pesticides by farmers

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm September 4, 2017 11:55

Agric experts raise concern over misuse of pesticides by farmers

Agric experts are expressing concern about what they say is the increasing misuse of agrochemicals by farmers which they say is endangering the lives of food consumers.

They note over application of agrochemicals as well as wrong timing in its usage by farmers contaminates foods. The situation leaves residues of these chemicals in foods which are eventually consumed by the public. They are also worried about the application of chemicals to vegetables to forcefully induce ripening and make vegetables attractive.

“Some farmers use the chemical dithane to help the tomatoes attain very red colour. Most of us will go to the market, you take the tomato and see this yellowish powder on it. How many of us take time to wash the tomato before consuming it?” Agric Consultant with Meridian Agricultural Aaron Attefa Ampofo quizzed.

He was speaking to Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo for the Hotline Documentary ‘Poison on the Menu’ which explores how the food you consume could be killing you slowly.

There is a strict requirement that farmers don’t spray their fields at least two weeks before harvesting crops. “As for pesticides, especially insecticides, every two weeks you have to spray. But when it is almost 9 weeks, you stop the chemical usage. So that you have at least 12 to 21 days before you harvest to allow for all the residual effects to break down,” Agric Extension officer in the Fanteakwa District Christian Zormelo explained to Joy news.

But he admits a lot of farmers in the vicinity flout these standards and end up risking the lives of their consumers. “Even some prefer spraying and then the following day, they harvest,” Zormelo disclosed. Wisdom Korkor is one of such farmers. He told Joy News: “At times, the traders who come to buy the cabbage put pressure on farmers to harvest just a day after spraying the chemicals. They get upset if we do not allow that because they have the money.”

As a study by Hagar AfiaNanabro of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology reveals, a lot of these chemicals are in the diet you consume every day, sometimes above the permissible limits. Quoting a study she conducted on the quality of some selected vegetables in Kumasi, Hagar told Joy news: “It was seen that most of the vegetables contain various pesticides and residues in different ranges.”

AgricAaron AttefaAmpofo attributes the situation to the fact that a lot of these farmers are illiterates and don’t understand safety instructions. “We have a huge problem because between 30 to 70 percent of the farmers producing vegetables are illiterates. The production context is changing. The factors that come into play are becoming complex. With the improvement of science, agro chemicals are not the simple chemicals we used to know. So you need some minimal education or sensitization to decipher between which chemicals to use at what time,” he explained.

In order to deal with the problem of food contamination by pesticides, there is a push for a ban on the application of chemicals to food production. Dr. Samuel Atta Mills who is a farmer and MP for Komenda Edina EguafoAbrim (KEEA) is leading the charge.

“We need to ban these things… ban the importation of pesticides. We need to get to organic farming. And anybody who is going to handle this should be qualified persons. And we shouldn’t be dependent so much on these things. Most of these advanced countries have banned all these weedicides. But they need to make money and so they send them to us,” he alleged.

But the chemical dealers disagree. “Believe you me, we are at this stage and we can’t do without chemicals,” Fred Boampong of Crop Life Ghana, an association of chemical dealers noted.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm September 4, 2017 11:55
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