On May 16th over 30 stakeholders met in Accra, Ghana, to discuss the findings of a new study by Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) on the use of pesticides in Ghana’s cocoa sector. The workshop we organized created a lively exchange of knowledge between farmers, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), COCOBOD, NGO’s, inputs companies and, cocoa traders.

Neonicotinoids (neonics) are the most commonly used pesticides in the Ghana cocoa sector, even though the UTZ and RA standard aims to severely restrict their use because of the potential risks for the human health and environment. Last month the European Union member states have decided on a ban on the outdoor use of neonicotinoid pesticides, after an assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed in February the dangers they posed to bees.

Study findings suggest that a stronger emphasis on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in public and private policy and practice would reduce the cocoa farmer’s dependence on pesticides. The findings also raise the question if current policies of calendar spraying and subsidized distribution of pesticides align with the IPM principles.

Together with all stakeholders we are exploring how we can make alternatives better accessible for farmers.