BY ANIN AGYEI-
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS, Accra, Ghana- FOOD SOVEREIGNTY Ghana (FSG) has stated that many farms in the country have lost their natural value because of the continued use of chemicals such as glyphosate and the like on farm products.
According to the group, the critical role played by organisms such as earthworms and bees to enrich the soil is increasingly under threat as the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides is fast eroding their populations.
“Farmers no longer find mushrooms or snails on their farms,” the group stated.
FSG said specifically it was important in their role as a civil society organization working for social justice to highlight the extreme danger posed by our continued use of chemicals like glyphosate in products such as roundup, which are now officially considered to be carcinogenic.
In a release on the occasion of the 35th edition of the Farmers Day celebration, the group saluted all farmers of the nation, adding that “Indeed, we acknowledge and recognize the unique contribution that farmers make to our daily lives and general welfare.”
The release signed by the Communication Director of FSP, Mr. Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour, said since the country is a predominantly agrarian society, the role of the farmer could not be underestimated.
“We especially single out the efforts of the smallholder farmers who continue to carry the burden of feeding the nation despite the myriads of challenges they face each day,” the FSG said.
Mr. Baffour said in the face of the reality of climate change in the country, “FSG wishes to repeat our call for a change in policy in our agriculture to adopt agro-ecology.”
He said this is the most sustainable form of food production for the planet and that the group agrees with the United Nations Report on Sustainable Development which recommends a dynamic shift away from commercially-inspired agriculture with its increasingly great resource, harmful inputs, to an agro-ecological system that takes the well-being of the surrounding environment into consideration.
“It is instructive to note that as we celebrate this year’s Farmers Day, many farms no longer resemble what they looked like only one generation ago in terms of the organic flora and fauna that coexisted there.
The group refers to a landmark case in the USA a few months ago in which a court awarded a couple an unprecedented amount of two billion US dollars as compensation, because the dangerous chemical Glyphosate was found to have caused their cancer.
It said more worrying was the fact that the court determined that the company Bayer Monsanto was fully aware of the injurious nature of this chemical but made sustained efforts to promote it.
“Indeed, this must be a red flag for Ghanaians to realize that the agenda of the agribusiness lobby is to promote the sale of their controversial products despite their negative impact on human health and the environment,” the group said.
“The fact remains that four key areas continue to require the attention of key stakeholders, especially the government. These are the provision of credit to farmers; the construction of roads from farm gates to markets; the provision of irrigation to increase yields; and the provision of post-harvest technology to store produce safely and securely.”
The group said a greater attention to the challenges to farmers identified above would be a more productive use of resources than the adoption of GMOs, which, in our opinion, would be heavily misguided.
It said in order to have a sustainably productive agricultural industry, it was of great importance for a national agenda to promote the consumption of locally-grown food.
FSG said while the government’s initiative of Planting for Food and Jobs was an admirable one, FSG called for greater investment to create a local appetite and market for our produce, adding that a greater political will was required to tackle the position that powerful lobbyists had assumed to influence policy against locally-produced food.
“We take the opportunity to thank all organizations working towards advancing the welfare of farmers across the nation and encourage Ghanaians, especially policy makers, to recognize the important role of sustainability in planning for the industry.
BY ANIN AGYEI, NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS, AFRICA CORRESPONDENT