Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
IMPROPER handling of pesticides causes impotence among men in vegetable-growing areas of the country, Mr Copperfield Banini, a senior scientist with the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Division (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has warned.
He said research conducted in some vegetable-growing areas of the country revealed, among other things, that some of the farmers went to the extent of tasting the chemicals to establish their potency before applying them on their farms, resulting in serious health implications.
Mr Banini was speaking in an interview in Kumasi after the closing of a training of trainers’ workshop on integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) for 18 participants from the Ashanti, Western, Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta regions.
He did not name specific areas in the country where the situation prevailed, but a participant from the Ashanti Region mentioned Akomadan and Ejura as typical examples.
The agribusiness and trade promotion project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/ATP) and Croplife Africa Middle East (Croplife MoU), a regional federation representing the plant science industry and a network of national associations in 30 Africa and Middle East countries organised the workshop.
The workshop was aimed at training the participants to, among other things, educate farmers on production constraints and pest control.
Mr Banini stated that some farmers had also gone blind as a result of the improper application of insecticides.
He, therefore, stressed the need for vegetable farmers to protect themselves from the chemicals when spraying their farms.
He warned that misapplication of pesticides could also cause infertility in women.
Mr Frederick Boampong, the Programmes Officer of Croplife Ghana, said his outfit was supporting MoFA to bring some decency into agricultural production.
He stated that Croplile MoU and USAID/ATP were organising similar workshops in Abidjan and Bamako as a way of getting the best for the sub-region.
Mr Boampong explained that the low yields of farmers were due mainly to the low adoption of technologies.
Many farmers, he noted, were not ready to change their old ways of doing things, and said that was what the organisers of the workshop were determined to reverse.