EPA warns of ‘poisonous’ fruits, vegetables on market

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed that some Ghanaians may be consuming poisonous fruits and vegetables as some farmers have been flouting safety standards for production and packaging.

Some farmers and vendors, according to the Agency, are using chemicals to maintain freshness and preserve vegetables and fruits.

Speaking to the media, the Director of Chemicals and Registrar of Pesticides at the EPA, Dr Sam Adu-Kumi noted that, although the practice is criminal, some farmers do not observe the 10-day pre-harvest interval.

As part of the regulatory requirement, farmers are required to keep their products off the market for at least ten days after applying any chemical on them.

“They have to calculate and make sure that when they spray, there is always some days before the food is harvested and gets to the consumers. This will reduce the chemical residue because the chemical they use is harmful and not for human consumption,” Dr Adu-Kumi noted.

He maintained that monitoring the activities of farmers is very challenging, as they would have to test every fruit and vegetable before it gets unto the market.

The EPA, however, said it is working with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to sensitise the public on best practices before the consumption of foodstuffs.

Dr Adu-Kumi also urged the public to take preventive measures after purchasing fruits and vegetables.

“If you purchase the foodstuffs from the market, try to apply some best practices by not cooking it immediately but rather leaving it there for some few days for the chemical to break down.”

He advised further consumers to “wash [produce] very well with water and try as much as possible to remove the outer cover of the vegetables.”

‘Govt handling scholarships well’

Akufo-Addo-led government has demonstrated enough commitment towards strengthening the scholarship scheme in the country, Registrar at the Scholarship Secretariat, Kingsley Agyemang, has said.

According to him, for the first time in ten years, government owes just GHS64 million for one term of feeding grants to schools in the three regions of the north. He noted that it was unprecedented in the history of the Northern Scholarship for a government to be so committed to education in that part of the country.

Mr Agyemang made this disclosure on the sidelines of a training workshop for bursars and headmasters in the Northern Region. The meeting was to build their internal mechanisms and prepare them adequately for the smooth running of the free Senior High School programme.

He revealed that school heads are excited about the new development because they do not have to issue threats of closing down schools as a result of government’s indebtedness.

Mr. Agyemang said just as the government has shown commitment to executing the free Senior High School (SHS) programme by making money available, same has been replicated in the northern scholarship programme.

The scholarship secretariat Registrar said his office is currently waiting for the schools to present their second term claims for processing. He said the government is very much committed to ensuring the education sector was equipped to deliver, adding that government does not also owe stipends to foreign students for the 2017 academic year.

The commitment, he said, has been appreciated by the National Union of Ghana Student in Cuba, who, in a letter, commended the government for the enormous work it has done.

He said this year, government has already paid stipends from January to March and owes just one month of bilateral scholarships.

 

Story: Freeman AWLESU KORYEKPOR

Writer’s email: freeman.koryekpor@todaygh.com

 

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