Community based project on ‘living the silent spring’ in Logba, Ghana

Monday, November 11, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Akua Konadu Antwi-Agyakwa , CROP Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Jakpasu Afun , Ho Polytechnic, Ho, Ghana
Richard Adu-acheampong , Entomology Division, Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, Akim-Tafo, Ghana
Chemicals in the forms of pesticides and insecticides have been considered over the years as necessary evil. Though very harmful, its inclusion in Agriculture is inevitable. Farm workers and their families experience the greatest exposure to agricultural pesticides through both direct and indirect contact with the chemicals. Effects of exposure to pesticides can range from mild skin irritation to birth defects, tumours, genetic changes, blood and nerve disorders, endocrine disruption, and even coma or death. Inappropriate application also leads to pesticide resistance and pest resurgence. The long-term exposure can result in reduced IQ and learning disability, associated with permanent brain damage. Therefore, a balance is required to derive maximum benefit from these chemicals whilst reducing the human exposure and its deleterious effect as much as possible. A community based project was carried out at Logba, in the Volta Region of Ghana, involving 50 cocoa farmers and 25 students from Jim Bourton Memorial Agricultural Senior High School. Participants were educated to appreciate this danger that when not brought to book could render society of deformed and less privileged individuals. Participants were taken through series of lectures on the practical handling of agrochemicals. There was a focus group discussion and oral presentation where farmers expressed their views on various issues on cocoa farming in Ghana. At the end of the day, participants appreciated the essence of doing the right thing with respect to pesticide handling. They learnt better ways of handling agrochemicals especially pesticides and insecticides. They gained motivation to work diligently at whatever work they find themselves doing.
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