Nana Nketia urges parliament to reconsider Organic Bill and establish chemical-free zones

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Nana Nketia, a prominent herbal practitioner and organic consultant, has appealed to the parliament of Ghana to revisit the Organic Bill proposed by Honorable Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi, MP for Asante Akyem North. The bill, initially presented in 2022, aimed to regulate chemical use in agriculture and promote organic products to safeguard public health and wellbeing.

This was revealed during a press conference organized by the herbal unit of the African Chamber of Content Producers in response to recent instances of chemical poisoning among Ghanaian farmers.

Nana Nketia’s call aligns with recent concerns raised by Stephenson Anane Boaten, President of the Ghana National Association of Cocoa Farmers. Mr Boaten revealed instances of farmers losing sight and sexual potency due to prolonged exposure to agrochemicals. Boafo and Lyons in their 2023 study described the bodily lived experiences of farmers who suffered from headaches, skin rashes, dizziness, and other symptoms as a result of exposure to chemical pesticides. 

These claims are backed by data, with a 2011 study by Franko et al revealing 180,000 fatalities occurring annually among agricultural workers in developing countries, including Ghana attributed to serious agrochemical poisoning. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 386,000 deaths occur globally annually due to unintentional pesticide poisoning.

“These statistics paint a worrying picture,” emphasizes Nana Nketia. “We cannot afford to wait for more such incidents to occur. The government must act now to protect the health of our farmers and all Ghanaians.”

Nana Nketia and the Chamber’s vision extends beyond immediate health concerns; they recognize the long-term potential of organic agriculture. According to the members of the African Chamber of Content Producers, their studies suggest that organic diets can lower the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases, potentially leading to increased life expectancy. Moreover, they stated that the global organic food market is projected to reach USD 321.3 billion by 2028, according to Statista. Ghana, with its fertile land and growing awareness of healthy food choices, is well-positioned to capitalize on this growing market.

Mr. David Adofo, a member of the Chamber of Content Producers also added that Organic farming methods contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing soil degradation and water pollution, paving the way for a more sustainable future for the nation. To effectively address these concerns and capitalize on the opportunities, the Chamber proposed a two-pronged approach.

Firstly, the Chamber suggest urgently considering the Organic Bill. This legislation, if enacted, would create a framework for regulating chemical use in agriculture and promoting organic practices. Secondly, they recommend establishing Chemical-Free Zones. These designated areas would be free of chemical spraying, ensuring access to uncontaminated plants and herbs for both practitioners like Nana Nketia and the general public.

Nana Nketia stresses that collaboration between the government, farmers, and citizens is crucial for success. “By embracing organic agriculture, Ghana can protect its health, boost its economy, and safeguard its environment for generations to come. This call to action comes at a critical juncture for the country. With growing awareness of health risks and economic opportunities, revisiting the Organic Bill and exploring initiatives like chemical-free zones could prove to be a vital step towards a healthier, more sustainable future”, he concluded.

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