As part of measures to get rid of fake and illegal agrochemicals on the market, CropLife Ghana has taken steps to coordinate with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to identify hotspot areas where some of these products are heavily distributed across the country.

The identification of these hotspot areas where the illegal agrochemicals trade takes place will then be followed by taking action with trained security forces to seize these illegal products and take them to a special facility to be dealt with.

According to the Programme Manager at CropLife Ghana, Kadiri Rashad, although there has been a series of training courses for some security personnel, the group worked together with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to train especially the police, immigration and Attorney-General’s Department – which is responsible for prosecution.

“We will identify hotspots where these illegal trades are being carried out. We are going to liaise with Ghana Standards Authority to help use some information they have gathered; then we can conduct swoops in those markets with the trained security personnel to do seizures and create public awareness,” he said.

Speaking with the B&FT on the illegalities of the products, Mr. Rashad indicated that the EPA Act does not allow the trade of agrochemicals that do not have labels in English; therefore, it prohibits the sale of any pesticide in other languages aside from English.

He said this is done to prevent misapplication of the chemicals, which poses a great threat to farm produce and workers.

Mr. Rashad revealed that a lot of the fake products are produced by some locals – stating that the empty containers of these imported pesticides are refilled with some chemicals and brought to the market for sale.

Thus, he said, CropLife has begun collecting these containers for recycling as part of plans to sanitise the market.

“We have a programme called the Empty Pesticide Container Management Programme (EPCMP), wherein we collect the empties from farmers to the CropLife facility where we do disposal of empties and expired stocks,” he noted.

As part of measures to curb this menace, CropLife Ghana in collaboration with CropLife Africa Middle East organised a one-day training on anti-counterfeiting of agrochemical inputs and law enforcement strategies.

The programme seeks to adopt an all-inclusive stakeholder approach in the fight against counterfeiting crop protection products; hence the overwhelming need to bring all key industry players to a common ground in developing a sustainable strategy to combat the illegal trade of pesticides in Ghana.

At the training’s end, various stakeholders concluded that farmers should be empowered to report cases involving fake agrochemicals to available hotlines and offices cited at various agricultural offices.

Databases of counterfeited products should be made available to the security officers and Attorney General. The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate, PPRSD, should be part of the inspecting teams at the various ports of entry.

Source: Business and Financial Times