The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken measures to ensure that pesticides do not pose any risk to human life and the environment.
To this end the EPA, in partnership with other relevant institutions, would develop appropriate information and communications programmes that would bring about a change in attitudes towards the safe handling and application of pesticides in agriculture.
Mr. John Awuku Dziwornu, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen (GNAFF), said this at a national forum on the cotton and rice industries in Northern Ghana in Tamale on Tuesday.
The forum was on the theme: “Sustaining the cotton industry through the responsible use of endosulfan and rice through carbofuran”.
The GNAFF and the Peasant Farmers' Association of Ghana (PFAG) organised the forum under the sponsorship of Excel Crop Care Limited.
The one-day forum was aimed at formulating a sustainable programme towards the creation of the necessary conditions for the survival of the cotton and rice industries in Ghana.
Mr. Dziwornu said in Ghana, endosulfan had been approved for the exclusive use in the control of a number of cotton pests and warned that just like any other pesticide its use was dangerous if not handled properly.
He said endosulfan must be applied in line with the product label recommendations to minimize residue levels in food, feeding stuff and the environment.
He said the responsible use of pesticides in agriculture and the need to maintain good health and the environment was a shared responsibility.
Mr Dziwornu said as new pesticides were introduced by the developed world, the developing countries would capitalise on the information to produce similar substances at cheaper prices.
He said such an action could pose a threat to the multi-national corporations and they would then institute some control measures such as the withdrawal of the substances with the simple reason that they are hazardous.
“We know what the impact of the removal of subsidies on inputs and services has on agricultural producers. The activities of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the European Partnership Agreement (EPAs) are clear indications of manipulations of the advanced nations to keep the developing countries in total subjugation”, Mr. Dziwornu said.
Mr. Nashiru Adams, National President of the PFAG, reiterated his call on the President to ensure that the Presidential Initiative on cotton became a reality for Northern Ghana to enable the cotton farmers to enhance production.
“The growth of the cotton and rice industries in Northern Ghana would help create jobs and reduce poverty”, Mr Adams said.