By Christopher Tetteh, GNA
Accra, June 29, GNA – The country’s border controlling entities and strategic ministries, agencies and departments have been entreated to be vigilant and alert to prevent the smuggling of government’s subsidized farm inputs to boost the nation’s agricultural industry.
Mr. Christopher Ocloo, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions Officer in-charge of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) made the appeal when he facilitated a training workshop on the negative impact of prevalence and application of counterfeit agro-chemicals and fertilizers at Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region.
The one-day training attended by about 70 participants was organised by CropLife Ghana, an association of agro-chemical importation companies in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and PPRSD.
Participants were personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Services Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the MoFA in the Bono Region.
It was to equip the participants with the technical knowhow and skills to be able to do thorough scrutiny and proper security checks of documents covering commodities, especially counterfeit agro-chemical products leaving and coming into the country.
Specifically they were also trained on hazards indication, nature, implication and inscriptions on chemical products that have been registered for use in Ghana.
Mr. Ocloo stated that the role of GIS and CEPS personnel concerning the import and export of fake agro-chemical products was so vital in many respect for the socio-economic development of the country.
This is because, he explained that health-wise, poisonous agro-chemicals did not just make food items poisonous for consumption but could cause diseases to humans and animals and sometimes even result in death.
Mr. Ocloo said the importation and exportation of counterfeit agro-chemical products also drew back the country’s economic progress because that sent negative signals to players in the international market about the nation’s exportable farm produce, he added.
He entreated farmers to carefully read inscriptions on fertilizers before applying them to avoid misuses, which made foodstuff poisonous and dangerous for consumption.
Mr. Frederick Brandford Boampong, the Programme Manager for CropLife Ghana said the training was necessary because of the high rate of counterfeit agro-chemical importation into the country.
Mr. Boampong expressed regret that government`s agro-chemical products labeled “Not for Sale” were being smuggled to neighboring countries and urged participants to be more proactive and dedicated to prevent such illegal businesses for the economic benefit of the country.
He cautioned that the authorities of Cote d`Ivoire had threatened to burn into ashes any vehicle and products that would come into the country without proper documentation and prosecute the driver.