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09.04.2008 Business & Finance

MoFA Calls For Co-operation To Fight Crop Protection Piracy

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The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has called for the commitment and co-operation of administrative and law enforcement bodies to combat counterfeiting and crop protection piracy, which have bedevilled the industry.

'Lack of enforcement of laws and lack of strong regulations have favoured proliferation of fraudulent products on the markets, which are formulated in rudimentary laboratories, supported by criminal organisations capitalising on little or no knowledge and illiteracy of most farmers and users,' Mr Clement Eledi, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture noted.

Opening a two-day international annual West and Central Africa Hub and Regulatory meeting, he said though agri-inputs business had increased accessibility of inputs to farmers, it had also brought in its wake, serious problems for the industry.

The meeting was organised by Croplife Africa Middle East with participants from Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin and Nigeria.

Mr Eledi said counterfeiting and illegal trade of agri-inputs had become a major problem damaging farmers' crops, the environment, the health of the people, food safety, industry and the national economy as a whole.

With support from International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) the workshop will also formulate recommendations for the rapid setting up and implementation of the ECOWAS harmonisation regulatory framework.

Mr Eledi noted that agri-inputs were key part of modern agriculture, contributing to drastic increases in crop yields achieved in recent decades.

'Ghanaian farmers face a variety of constraints including low productivity, limited access to new agricultural technologies and weak markets. Without agri-inputs, farmers often cannot meet the food needs of their own families, much less those of the rapidly growing population.'

He explained that for the farmers to feed their country, they would need to shift from low yielding extensive land practices to more intensive higher yielding practices with increased use of improved agrochemicals, seeds, irrigation and much more extension training on production increases.

Mr Eledi expressed the Ministry's concern in the area of disposal of empty pesticide containers, which were being used as containers for drinking and storing water in most farming communities and urged CropLife International to set up an incinerator in Ghana to curb the menace.

Mr Pierre Flye, President of CropLife International, reiterated the need to implement the framework on crop protection adopted by the ECOWAS.

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