The absence of strong regulations on the importation and use of agro-chemicals poses a threat to human life and food security, CropLife Africa Middle East (AME), a regional federation representing the plant science industry and a network of national associations in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, has said.
According to CropLife, inadequate knowledge about products, inefficient import controls leading to the entry of illegal products and poor quality agricultural inputs into agriculture markets, could undermine efforts at mitigating against risk of pesticide.
Speaking at its West and Central Africa annual hub and regulatory workshop, held in Accra, William Kottey, President of CropLife Ghana, said, “the situation has led and will continue to lead to threats to human health and the environment, among many other dangers.”
Held under the theme: “Promoting the Spray Service Providers (SSPs) concept as a component of pesticide risk mitigation,” the workshop sought to find ways to increase education and farmers’ knowledge on the rightful use of pesticides, as well as to promote its use.
William Kottey explained that the situation has contributed to farmers not achieving the expected yield and, more importantly, loss of income.
He added that governmen’st newly introduced ‘Planting for Food and Jobs campaign’ is in line with the association’s vision and called for closer collaboration of all stakeholders.
Mr. Kottey further pledged his outfit’s support for the initiative, saying: “CropLife Ghana would, at this point, want to associate itself with the recently introduced ‘Planting for Food and Jobs campaign’ by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The aim to improve productivity of Ghanaian farmers once they have better access to quality agricultural inputs.”
Mr. Klottey stated that members of CropLife are into supply of various inputs along the agriculture value chain, which the government could use to promote the development of the sector.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, George Oduro, in his keynote address, called on the private sector to collaborate with the ministry to provide regular training for extension officers and farmers.
The minister hinted that his outfit is in discussion with the Ministry of Finance to abolish the 5% import tax on agricultural inputs.
“I must add that it is in our interest that this tax is waived to enable your companies import more inputs for the benefit of the farmers and the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs Programme initiated by the government in 2017.”
CropLife Africa, Middle East, is a member of CropLife International, an international nonprofit organisation established in 2002. It is legally independent but also maintains a strong link with the global crop life network.
As at the end of 2016 the association consisted of ten company members, 24 national associations and one professional organisation engaged in the promotion of biotechnology solutions in African.