Review agricultural policies to reflect changing times

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Calls to review natural agricultural policies to check the abusive use of agrochemicals and promote organic farming need to be attached the importance they deserve.

The overuse of agro chemicals, as well as using untrained hands to administer such chemicals on farmlands, has been identified as a bane to agricultural productivity – inflicting toxity on the farmlands and resulting in inadequate yields and climate-related effects.

The B&FT has long been an advocate of organic agriculture for our national development due to its obvious health implications and commercial advantages. This is particularly true for the export market these days, where organic produce fetches premium prices and is much sought-after by an increasingly health-conscious global population.

Coordinator of the Environmental and Agricultural Women Association of Ghana (EAWAG), Mrs. Emelia Kyeremeh, has observed that the magnitude of abusive use of agrochemicals, particularly weedicides and fertilisers, is “frightening”. Emelia is calling for a paradigm-shift in the entire spectrum of food production to improve food safety. She advices the public to be conscious of the food they partronise, and embrace organic foods to protect themselves against health complications and emanating from the menace of food contamination as a result of agrochemical exploitation.

Organic farming also enhances soil health while protecting the micro-orgasims in the soil as well as the local floral and fauna. This era of sustainable living and concerns about maintaining a healthy environment calls for the review of national agricultural policies in line with sustainability.

Industrialisation in the agricultural sector has increased the chemical burden on natural ecosystems. Pesticides are known to cause a large number of negative health and encironmental effects, and their side-effects can be important environmental health risk factors.

Residues of peticides can be found in a great variety of everyday foods and beverages, including for instance cooked meals, water, wine, fruit juices, refreshments, and animal-feeds. Excessive use of fertilisers, for example, can lead to the contamination of groundwater with nitrates – rendering it unfit for consumption by humans or livestock.

Policymakers must recognise that the excessive and unsystematic applications of agrichemical inputs, pesticides and fertilisers in particular, is an obstacle to the development of sustainable agriculture – and poses a threat to the environment and humans alike.

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