The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, has issued a one-month ultimatum, ending June 1, 2018, to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to present a detailed report on its investigations into a fake cocoa pesticide that has been imported from China.
His directive follows a question by Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the Member of Parliament for Juaboso, who sought to learn whether the ministry was aware that one litre (1lt) containers of Rockstar, which is supposed to be a cocoa pesticide but is not yet approved for sale by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, are already being sold on the market.
Appearing before parliament, the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, indicated that MoFa has tasked Cocoboard to conduct further investigations into the presence of the new Rockstar on the Ghanaian market for action to be taken.
“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is awaiting the report of this investigation,” he added.
The Speaker also directed that the ministry issues a disclaimer immediately, and also draw the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an interim measure.
Rockstar (Bifenthrin 2.5EC) is a registered pesticide in Ghana for use in the agriculture sector, particularly for the control of pests in cocoa. It was originally imported from India by West Africa Commodities Company Limited.
It was tested by Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September, 2016, and listed under provisional clearance (PCL) for commercial purposes.
This means the licence was given for a period of one year and must be renewed or fully registered thereafter.
According to the EPA, West Africa Commodity Company Limited approached it in 2017 to have Rockstar fully registered. Samples were therefore presented to EPA for testing by CRIG.
It was discovered that the Rockstar presented this time round came from a Chinese manufacturer and could therefore not be accepted to be the same as the original one from India that had been tested earlier.
The CRIG, through the Cocoa Board, duly informed the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the EPA – who are responsible for the registration and post-registration surveillance of such pesticides – about the development.