Ban use of agro-chemicals in agriculture – Varsity don

Dr Afriyie Akoto, Agric Minister

Dr Afriyie Akoto, Agric Minister

A former Pro Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Reverend Professor Saa Dittoh has called for a complete ban on the use of agro-chemicals in agriculture in the country due to its effects on the promotion of nutrition.

According to him there was enough evidence to prove that the continuous use of agro-chemicals such as pesticides, weedicides and chemical fertilisers on our farms were not only hazardous to human health but a contributory factor to the rising cases of cancers in the country.

“There are many chemicals we are importing and using on our farmlands which are not allowed in the developed countries today because they know the toxic nature and the health implications it has over its people and yet we are using them here,” he stressed.

Professor Dittoh who disclosed this to the “Ghanaian Times” on the sidelines of the Upper West Regional Nutrition Review and Advocacy Meeting held here yesterday said even though the use of such chemicals may seem to increase food production, it fails to address issues of nutrition which was the main essence of food production.

The meeting was organised by the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service and the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council (RCC)

“If I were in government I would have advocated for a law that says we should completely do away with weedicides because it is killing people. There are so many examples to show how weedicides have caused damage in this country.

He said there was the need to draw a fine balance between producing food for its nutritional value and producing food for money, stressing that “we produce food because we want to eat so there shouldn’t be any difference between farming to eat and farming for money but if you produce something that is not good just because you want to make money then definitely you are committing a serious crime.”

Touching on the meeting, he said the country must move away from the notion of producing food for business and not for nutrition, stressing that without nutrition there can never be a country.

Prof. Dittoh said it was unfortunate that food production globally currently aims at making money at the expense of providing the nutrition needs of the world.

In spite of that he said Ghana had an advantage to go back to its traditional knowledge in the area of agricultural production not just to feed its people but also produce to export since the demand for organic agricultural produce was on the increase.

On his part the Country Programme Coordinator of SNV, Mr. Eric Banye said his organisation was concerned because the country’s approach to nutrition issues was not the best.

He said the country was sitting on a time bomb that could explode anytime unless efforts are made to address the nutrition challenges confronting the people.

Mr. Banye said malnutrition did not only affect people as individuals but has an impact on the development of the nation as a whole, stressing that, “Malnourished children would mean underdeveloped brains and no society can develop if its people lacked the brain capacity.”








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