Nyamebekyere Co-operative Vegetable Farming and Marketing Society Limited which operate in Ahafo, Bono, and Bono East regions, has stressed the need to strengthen the collaboration among the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana Health Service, MMDAs, and FBOs to fight faking and adulteration of pesticides in the country.
According to the society, the inability of state institutions such as EPA to regulate the agrochemicals industry has led to adulteration and proliferation of harmful agrochemicals in the market which in the end have been used by innocent farmers.
This has seriously led to low yield, poor market access, high level of chemical residue on vegetables, and this according to research by the society is adversely affecting over 100,000 vegetable producers within the Ahafo, Bono, and Bono East regions.
The Public Relations Officer for the Association, Evelyn Bema Darkwa disclosed during a Stakeholders Meeting at Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Tano North Municipality in the Ahafo region.
The Society is implementing an advocacy action: Elimination of Adulterated and Proliferated Harmful Agro-Chemicals in the Market project being funded by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC). BUSAC Fund is a programme set up to strengthen the advocacy capacity of private sector business groups and associations in Ghana supported by DANIDA (the lead Development Partner), and USAID.
The Nyamebekyere Co-operative Vegetable Farming and Marketing Society Limited is made up of about 100,000 vegetable farmers in the Techiman Municipality in the Bono East Region, Sunyani Municipality in the Bono region, and Tano South and Tano North Municipalities in the Ahafo Region.
Miss Darkwa noted that both organic and conventional agriculture could play a pivotal role in Ghana’s public health and local economic development. However, she added that the inability of state institutions to regulate the agro-chemical industry in the targeted farming districts has led to adulteration and proliferation of harmful agrochemicals in the market which in the end have been used by innocent farmers.
The lead Researcher and the Service Provider, Dr Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, said resourcing state agencies especially the extension division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Environmental Protection Authority and Ghana Standard Authority will help to arrest the situation.
According to him, Ghana’s vegetable sub-sector offers great opportunities for growth given the steady increase of high-value domestic markets and export opportunities.
“The domestic market alone is growing at more than 10% per annum and the potential value for export vegetables is estimated at US$250 million”, he added.
Key stakeholders at the meeting stressed that enhancing the capacity of State agencies need capacity in Law enforcement. They also called for the decentralization of Environmental Protection Agency operations at district levels to make the agency more efficient and beneficial to the citizens.
The Chairman of the Society, Elia Opoku Afriye, said his outfit will establish a strong collaboration between EPA and Nyamebekyere Co-Operative Vegetable Farming and Marketing Society Limited to train about 10000 members on pesticide application and usage.