EffectsSpeaking at the multi–stakeholders conference, the Executive Director of Conservation Alliance, Dr Yaw Osei-Owusu said, although pesticides helped farmers to produce safe and high-quality foods at reasonable prices, they have serious effects on human health and the environment. “This is the only reason we cannot continue to overlook the continued dependence of pesticides, especially the unapproved ones, any longer,” he said. Project coordinator for INKOTA Network, Juliane Bing mentioned that many of the pesticides being applied on farms in Ghana and other neighboring countries have been banned in the European Union because of their grave dangers to human health and the environment, yet they are still being exported from European countries to Africa. “Pesticides such as chlorpyriphos, thiamethoxam or imidacloprid are used by cocoa farmers in Ghana and other West African cocoa growing countries to fight pests and disease on their plantations, why are they still been imported to Ghana and West Africa? she quizzed. Natural Resource Manager for Conservation Alliance International, Raymond Owusu-Achiaw explained that the use of highly hazardous pesticides in cocoa production also damage soils, poison water bodies and destroy biodiversity. “This can only be addressed with a collective effort of both state and non-state actors in Cocoa producing and consuming countries” he mentioned.
AlternativesThe Chair of the Ghana National Biodiversity Committee, Professor Alfred Oteng-Yeboah urged farmers to put a stop to the use of harmful pesticides no matter how effective they are in agricultural productivity. “We have done a lot of tests and found out that some chemicals are persistent on the environment after they have been used, therefore, we must stop using them. “The use of biological techniques was one of the most reliable ways to address the excessive use of synthetic pesticides in agriculture, particularly in the cocoa sector” he added. The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie in a statement read on his behalf urged farmers to seek more training, skills and knowledge in the usage and application of these pesticides. “I think it’s time for CSOs to intensify their ongoing community education initiatives on the socioecological risks of using unapproved pesticides” he said. Country Director for Rainforest Alliance Ghana and Nigeria, Kwame Osei Boateng explained that the use of highly hazardous pesticides can be replaced by various alternative methods such as Integrated Pest Management, biopesticides and organic farming. “My research indicated that farmers often have little or no information about the adverse impacts of highly hazardous pesticides or alternative methods, or the financial means to access the less hazardous alternatives or even reluctant to adopt improved methods of production and this is the time they need our help and support in terms of education”, he said.
Stakeholders at the Conference