By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Techiman, (B/A), March 7, GNA – The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is to undertake a nationwide enforcement exercise clampdown on unlicensed agro-chemicals dealers.
Mr Joseph Edmund, the Deputy Director of the EPA said the authority would deal decisively with dealers operating without licenses and those whose licenses had expired as well.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a capacity training for agro-inputs dealers held in the Techiman Municipality, Mr Edmund said it was a serious offence to deal in agro-chemicals without license under the EPA Act 490, 1994.
He regretted that despite intensified public education on the Act, unlicensed agro chemical shops that sold pesticides and agric inputs continued to flood the market and exposed farmers and the general public to dangers.
The three-day capacity training workshop, attended by about 150 agro-chemical dealers in the Brong-Ahafo Region, was organised by the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) in collaboration with the Ghana Agric Input Dealers Association (GAIDA).
It forms part of a five-year project being implemented by AFAP, a social enterprise and its partners with funding from the Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), an intentional Non-Governmental Organisation helping to fulfil the vision that Africa could feed her people.
The Smallholder Inclusive Productivity and Market Access (SIPMA) project is aimed at improving food security and livelihoods of 143,000 smallholder maize and soya bean famers in Northern and Brong-Ahafo Region.
Mr Edmund explained that the enforcement exercise would start soon and would be decentralised to the local levels, adding all unlicensed shops would be closed down and offenders arrested and prosecuted.
He said pesticides were harmful to human life, and that unlicensed agro chemical dealers did not sell certified products from registered companies, and advised farmers to be watchful and buy products from recognised dealers.
Ms Nana-Aisha Mohammed, the Country Manager of AFAP, said the project focused on soya beans and maize farmers and served as a catalyst to support the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) to make its implementation successful and achieve desired results.
The project would support the development of the maize and soya bean value chains including; input mobilisation, extension, and access to finance, crop protection, aggregation and value addition in Brong-Ahafo and Northern Regions.
Ms Mohammed explained that AFAP intervention in Ghana focused on fostering private sector investment and establishing partnerships to build sustainable markets to improve food security.
“We understand that to improve food security, smallholder farmers must have information about their soil as well as access to appropriate and affordable fertilizer and seeds”, she said.
Ms Mohammed added that commitment was expected from the project implementing partners – Ministry of Food and Agriculture, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, CropLife, EPA and GAIDA to make it successful.