A new research conducted by Conservation Alliance of Ghana, analyzing the social and environmental challenges within the cocoa sector is calling for less application of pesticides to protect farmers and also avoid a global ban on Ghana’s cocoa beans.
According to the research, pesticides such as Confidor and Condo, used mainly in cocoa farming, are also misused by some vegetable farmers – posing a threat to humans.
The research titled ‘Pesticides Application within Ghana’s Cocoa Production Landscape’, also showed that many farmers are unaware of the dangers associated with the abuse of pesticides.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the sidelines of a workshop to address these issues, Programmes Manager of Conservation Alliance, Raymond Owusu-Achiaw, called for an urgent review of the Cocoa Pest and Disease Control (CODAPEC) policy to discourage the use of pesticides which have been banned in Europe.
“If Europe has banned the use of certain pesticides and is still producing it for us, then it is time to look at the CODAPEC programme and review it,” he said.
He further noted that some of the pesticides supplied to cocoa farmers in Ghana have been phased-out in the European Union (EU) due to the dangers associated with those chemicals.
“We are asking the policymakers to look at their policies. Look at other places like the EU. If the EU is producing these pesticides but says they are hazardous, why are you importing them? Let’s find ways and means to phase them out to avoid endangering the lives of our farmers,” he stressed.
Citing Mozambique as an example, Mr. Owusu-Achiaw said Ghana can learn from the southern African country by banning some pesticides and encouraging the use of organic pesticides.
He also pointed out that cocoa farmers can adopt farming practices which are less harmful in controlling pests; such as mechanical systems, biological systems and pruning.
Stressing on other recommendations in the research, Mr. Owusu-Achiaw revealed that most farmers in rural areas are not getting access to subsidised farm inputs distributed by government.
According to him, this has augmented the cost of production for these farmers who are largely smallholder farmers.
“We realised most of them do not belong to cooperatives, that was one of the challenges. Most of the farmers are not getting access to inputs like fertiliser. COCOBOD is working on it by urging farmers to join cooperatives,” he said.
The Conservation Alliance of Ghana is a non-profit organisation that serves as a catalyst for biodiversity conservation and improved socioeconomic conditions in African communities. The organisation uses its grant for undertaking campaigns to mainstream biodiversity conservation into cocoa production landscapes across the country.