A five-day training workshop for Pesticide Inspectors in the Northern Sector of the country opened in Sunyani on Monday with a call on them to intensify the enforcement of laws on pesticides control and management.

Mr John A. Pwamang, Director of Chemicals Control and Management of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who made the call, said “Many pesticides are toxic and have the potential to cause harm to humans if ingested in sufficient quantities or handled or sold by unlicensed people with little or no knowledge on their toxicity.”

He explained that despite their beneficial effects, pesticides presented risks to human health and the environment and these risks emanated from their inherent toxicities and from their misuse and overuse.

Mr Pwamang said government was very concerned about the use of pesticides and had tasked agencies including the EPA and Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to assist in the control and regulatory efforts.

“This necessitated the promulgation of the Pesticides Control and Management Act (Act 528) in 1996 to provide the legal framework for the control and management of pesticides in the country,” Mr Pwamang said.

He said the training workshop was the second in a series to train the legally appointed pesticide inspectors to intensify the enforcement of the relevant provisions of the pesticides control and management law in Ghana.

Mr Pwamang stressed that there were a number of problems in the field and the inspectors would have to tackle them vigorously.

He was optimistic the inspectors would come out with a detailed plan “on how to clean the mess being created in the pesticides market to ensure that food produced by farmers is safe for human consumption and that pesticides do not cause undue adverse effects on the environment.”

Mr Isaac Osei, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of EPA, noted with concern that pesticides issues had assumed risky dimensions in the country, noting that due to the misuse and misapplication of the products, many people died every year in the world as a result of ignorance.

He noted that the proliferation of illegal pesticide dealers in the country was getting out of hand and therefore prudent and appropriate that the inspectors were trained to perform efficiently and effectively.

“The appropriate application of pesticides would definitely improve the food situation,” Mr Osei said.

Mr Vesper Soglo, Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) stressed the need for people to be adequately educated on the use of pesticides.

He said it was important for the continued training of the inspectors so they could work to the satisfaction of stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Asante Krobia, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of MOFA, called for enough resources for the implementation of the laws governing the control and management of pesticides.

He emphasized that pest control was a key component in food production and urged the inspectors to discharge their duties without fear or favour.

Source: GNA