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31.03.2006 General News

CRI scientists monitor use of polluted water in vegetable production

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Kumasi, March 31, GNA - Scientists at the Crop Research Institute (CRI) are monitoring the use of polluted water in vegetable production around Kumasi as part of its promotional campaign on healthy vegetable production.

Mr Solomon Gyasi-Boakye of the Public Relations Office of the CRI who announced this said lessons learned would be packaged to provide better strategies to make the practice less risky as it continues to be an important income generating activity for many people in the cities. He was speaking on the topic, "Promotion of Healthy Vegetable Production in Ghana; A CSIR-Crop Research Institute Case Study at a meeting of the Food Security Advocacy Network (FoodSPAN)-Media encounter on peri-urban agriculture in Kumasi on Friday.

The meeting which was attended members of the foodSPAN from Ashenti, Brong Ahafo and the Eastern Regions was to give the media an insight into the threats and opportunities in the venture and seek media support in advocating for adequate attention and action for urban/peri-urban agriculture in the country.

Mr Gyasi-Boakye said many challenges posed in vegetable promotion in Ghana included the unavailability of improved varieties and seed of local vegetable crops such as tomatoes, pepper and garden eggs. He said another challenge posed in the vegetable promotion was the reliance on the bulk importation of the horticultural seeds grown in the country.

Mr James Kusi-Boama, Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinator of ActionAID and a member of FoodSPAN, stressed the need for farmers to be educated on the health implications of pesticide spraying and be supported in increased food production.

He stressed the need for the media also to avail itself fully of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to enable the nation to achieve its linkages to reduce hunger and poverty. A statement issued after the meeting by FoodSPAN and read by Barima Akwasi Amankwa, a member of the organisation, urged the government to focus on providing peri-urban farmers with the needed support at all levels.

The statement indicated that even though there is a Ministry that takes care of farmers, vegetable farmers in the peri-urban areas are given less attention with most of the resources going into other sections to the detriment of these poor farmers. It called on the government to provide these farmers with the requisite knowledge and skills that could help minimise health hazards relating to the consumption of these vegetables.

"In as much as we appreciate government's efforts in the raising of awareness to the usage of the chemicals by these farmers, we will be much grateful if the agricultural extension agent will educate these farmers on the usage of the chemicals". 31 March 06