The Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), operating in the Upper East Region has called on the media to shift attention towards educating the public on the safe handling and disposal of used agrochemical containers.
It admonished media practitioners in the region to complement its efforts in sensitising individuals, particularly the famers on how to safely use agrochemicals and properly dispose the containers to avoid health risks.
Mr Raphael Asuure, the Project Officer of YHFG made the call during a media engagement on the safe handling and disposal of used agrochemical containers in Bolgatanga, organised by the NGO.
The NGO, in partnership with UASID Advance, is implementing a year advocacy campaign aimed at promoting safe and sustainable environment through appropriate handling and disposal of used agrochemical containers in the region in four selected districts.
The four selected districts include; the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Kassena-Nankana West, Bongo and Bawku West Districts, while the media engagement brought together selected journalists from the region.
The project further seeks to increase knowledge about the causes and effects of unsafe handling and disposal of agrochemical containers among 10,000 farmers, agrochemical sellers and the general public in the region to increase demand for government action.
“To achieve this objective, the YHFG commissioned an advocacy research to understand the influencing factors around the handling and disposal of used agrochemical containers in the region. The media engagement is to share with you the research findings and solicit your support for an effective advocacy campaign on the challenges associated with the unsafe handling and disposal of agrochemical containers”. The Project Officer added.
Mr Asuure disclosed that about 96 percent of farmers and 61 percent of agrochemical sellers had knowledge on how to safely dispose used agrochemical containers however, about 79 percent of farmers had no knowledge of any safe disposal sites in their communities.
He indicated, “There were no existing disposal sites designated for disposing used agrochemical containers aside the general disposal sites and close to 82 percent of farmers did not dispose used agrochemical containers safely.”
Mr Asuure mentioned that wrong handling and use of agrochemicals had long term adverse effects on the individual and inappropriate disposal of used agrochemical containers such as burning could pollute the environment through the emission of greenhouse effects which could cause adverse climate change.
He therefore challenged the journalists to use their large coverage and influential power to trigger people’s way of thinking positively and influence government action through the Ministry of food and Agriculture (MoFA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Municipal and District Assemblies to educate famers and agrochemical dealers and create agrochemical disposal sites as well as enforce by-laws to regulate the disposal of the containers.
The media practitioners, who lauded the efforts of YHFG in promoting sustainable environment through proper handling and disposal of used agrochemical containers and including them in the advocacy process, pledged their commitment to the course and said it was a step towards the country’s quest to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The journalists, who promised to intensify their coverage on agricultural and health issues, expressed their resolve to influence government policies especially the Municipal and District Assemblies to mainstream safe environmental practices into their medium term development plans and activities.
The Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, established in 1999 and officially registered in 2002 with the vision, “Self-reliant and self-sufficient youth living in a more equal, healthy and prosperous society” has undertaken several development programmes in education, agriculture, campaign against child marriage and teenage pregnancies as well as skills development for rural communities especially women and the youth.