Agro chemical dealers have called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to sit up and clamp down on dealers in fake and expired products to protect farmers and consumers.
They are worried the prevalence of such products on the market could endanger consumers and cause farmers to lose confidence in the use of chemicals.
Fredrick Boampong, Programmes Manager of Crop Life Ghana, an association of chemical dealers in the country says the situation requires urgent attention from the government.
“Most of our members are complaining about their chemicals being faked. People are printing labels of our member companies on other concoctions and selling to farmers. And it is happening in broad day light. Everybody is seeing it,” he noted in an interview with Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo for the Hotline Documentary ‘Poison on the Menu’ which explores how the food you consume could be killing you slowly.
He added: “The regulators are seeing it. We should have pesticide inspectors across the country but unfortunately either they are not enough or they are not there at all because we are not seeing the effect of their inspection… It’s a whole mess up there.”
Fred Boampong says the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and its Plant Protection Regulatory Services Division (PPRSD), as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should do more to sanctify the agro chemicals industry.
“EPA and PPRSD, they are doing their best but their best is not good enough. We have a lot of challenges in the system with the influx of agro-chemicals. We have a lot of agro chemicals in the system that are not registered for use in the country. But they are on the market,” he said.
A visit to Kejetia in the Kumasi Metropolisby Joseph OpokuGakpo revealed that despite their strong nature, the agro chemicals are not sold under any regulated conditions. “Some are sold in the open and on table tops. Some of them have inscriptions in a foreign language,” he reported. Additionally, a lot of the sellers are uneducated, raising concerns about how they are able to properly advise their customers on how to use these chemicals safely.
AgricConsultant with Meridian Agricultural Services Aaron AttefahAmpofo attributes the situation to government’s inability to resource the regulatory institutions adequately. “The very laws that create these institutions stipulate that they should be funded. But you will go there and money to conduct surveys on the market and also to enforce the regulations is not there,” he noted with concern.