Ghana was traditionally one of the African countries that relies less on agrochemicals however, the situation is changing rapidly as agrochemicals are becoming a mainstay of agriculture in the country.
Thus, in controlling pests and diseases affecting fruits, vegetables, and other food crops, smallholder farmers in Ghana and in Africa apply various pesticides and do not take into consideration health protection when applying them.
It is reported that food crop farmers in Ghana used agrochemicals at a rate of 1.3 to 13 times higher than the recommended doses. Overdose application of pesticide is also reported among vegetable and other smallholder farmers in Ghana.
For example, pesticide use in Ghana has increased from 9% in 1991 to 47% in 2003.
This astronomical increase creates serious health and environmental consequences.
Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Ghana indicates 540 varieties of chemicals have been registered for use in agriculture and public health.
Studies show between 70% and 85% of farmers in Ghana use agrochemicals and usage is high among vegetable and cash crops farmers.
According to Northern Presbyterian Agriculture Services and Partners (NPASP) of Ghana, 15 farmers died because of chemical poisoning in the Upper East region of Ghana.
Based on the farmers’ practices, it is evident that present agrochemical uses in Ghana pose an acute risk to the aquatic and terrestrial organisms.
Additionally, these practices present imminent dangers to beneficial insects such as bees, crop pollinators, and other soil fauna such as earthworms that help to aerate the soil.