Sherry Ayittey urges farmers to ensure proper use of pestici

Accra, Oct. 8, GNA - Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology on Thursday said improper use of pesticides could pose risks to human health and the environment.

She said although pesticides had become an essential means for achieving economic and social development globally, farmers in desperate attempt to protect their crops and investment had resorted to its use from pre-harvest to post-harvest thereby posing risks to consumers. Ms Ayittey made the observation in a speech read on her behalf at a day's National Seminar on Pesticide Use in Ghana for fishermen, farmers and chemical distributors, on the theme: "Sound Management of Pesticides - Our collective Responsibility," in Accra.

It was organised by the Ghana National Associ ation of Farmers and Fishermen (GNAFF) in collaboration with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and sponsored by King Quenson Industry Group, an agro-chemical company based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

The company is in Ghana to market its products. Ms Ayittey noted that the improper use of pesticides, were more serious and pervasive in the agricultural sector, mostly in developing countries such as Ghana.

She said those practices invariably tend to impact negatively on the environment and human health as well as the economy and stressed the need to intensify education on the use of pesticides among the farming and fishing communities to address the issue. "Pesticides have one thing in common - they are poisonous, and have the potential to be harmful to humans if ingested in sufficient quantities, handled or sold by untrained people with little or no knowledge about its toxicity," she said.

Ms Ayittey announced that EPA had intensified efforts to address the influx of fake products onto the market and would soon initiate a programme to test the quantity of pesticides on the market. She commended the Management of King Quenson Industry Group for their preparedness to bring their products and services to Ghana and expressed the hope that they would introduce quality products and make pesticides available and affordable for the farmer and create jobs for Ghanaians.

Ms Helen He, President of King Queson Industry Group, said for some years now China and Ghana had maintained good and close co-operative relations in various fields.

She said Chinese enterprises were encouraged to build up extensive co-operation and mutual support with Ghanaian partners to contribute towards the socio-economic development of both countries. Mr John Pwamang, Pesticide Registrar of EPA took the participants through the laws governing registration and licensing of pesticides in Ghana.

He urged all chemical companies and distributors to comply with the laid down regulations to avoid prosecution. Mr John Awuku Dziwornu, National Secretary of GNAFF, said the seminar was organised because the agriculture sector for sometime now had been confronted with fake pesticides.

Mr Maxwell Amuzu, General Manager of Cocoa Inputs, said in addition to educating farmers on the proper use of pesticides to increase yields, they should be taught about effective investment. "We must give incentives to motivate them to prevent them from leaving the agriculture sector to other sectors," he added. 8 Oct. 09