The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has cautioned farmers against the misuse of agrochemicals on vegetables to protect themselves and consumers from food poisoning.

Mr Michael Kumah, the Ahafo Regional Plant and Protection Officer of the Plant Protection Research Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the MoFA advised vegetable farmers to check labels of agrochemicals when they buy and apply them accordingly.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting held at Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region on Tuesday, Mr Kumah regretted some wholesalers aided ignorant vegetable farmers to misapply agro-chemicals on their crops.

This, the buyers believed was the right method of storage as misuse of the chemicals on the crops protected the vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, okra, and tomatoes from getting rotten.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), MoFA, and farmers.

It is in line with a project being implemented by the Nyamebekyere Cooperatives Vegetable Farming and Marketing Society Limited, a farmer-based organisation in the Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo Regions.

The Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BuSAC) Fund is sponsoring the six-month advocacy project at the cost of Gh¢ 70,000. It is aimed at helping to remove all bottlenecks impeding the growth and development of the vegetable production industry.

It is also expected to help improve on the farming efficiency of the food production system and increase income levels of the more than 10,000 members of the society and expand access to ensure sustainable and quality agrochemical supply to farmers to increase vegetable production.

Mr Kumah indicated that the misapplication of agro-chemicals on vegetable farms was dangerous since the crops become contaminated leaving residues in the human system after consumption.

This he said becomes poisonous overtime for consumers to develop health complications.

He said the government had engaged more extension officers across the country and advised farmers to make use of them by engaging the officers frequently.

Dr Gabriel Gbiel Benaakuu, BuSAC Service Provider, called on stakeholders to collaborate, brainstorm, and deliberate seriously on the possible way to fight the influx of fake, adulterated, and harmful agrochemicals in the vegetable industry.

Mr Elia Opoku Afriyie, the Chairman of the Society, noted many vegetable farmers could not differentiate between fake and genuine agro-chemicals when they went to the market to buy.

The problem is seriously affecting vegetable production as farmers produced low and poor-quality yields, he added.