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Pesticides usage in cabbage (Brassica oleracea) cultivation in the forest ecozone of Ghana

Amoako, P.K., Kumah, P., Appiah, F.
Acta horticulturae 2014 no.1021 pp. 401-407
Brassica oleracea, DDT (pesticide), active ingredients, bifenthrin, cabbage, endosulfan, farmers, forests, harvest date, imidacloprid, insect control, insect pests, lindane, pesticide residues, spraying, thiamethoxam, trademarks, Ghana
One of the obstacles to cabbage production in the forest ecozone of Ghana is insect pests. These insect pests are controlled in various ways, with pesticide use prominent among them. The objectives of this study were to (1) document the various pesticides used by farmers in cabbage production, (2) assess the mode of application of these pesticides and (3) determine the safety of the cabbage heads for consumption. Results show that approximately 26 different pesticides are being used by farmers to control insect pests on cabbage, and that 61% of farmers mixed two or more pesticides together without considering either compatibility or active ingredients; trade names alone were considered reliable. It was also revealed that some banned chemicals (e.g., Lindane, Endosulfans, DDT) and pesticides not recommended for vegetables (e.g., Akate Master [bifenthrin], Confidor [Imidacloprid + thiamethoxam] and Cocostar [bifenthrin+pirimiphosmethyl]) were also being used. These results suggest that farmers are clearly misusing pesticides and thus affecting the quality and safety of cabbage for consumption. In addition, 51% of the farmers carried out spraying by the calendar, which means that they treated with pesticides usually at 3-4 day intervals, while the rest of the farmers sprayed only when they noticed the presence of insect pests. Furthermore, 79% of the farmers continued spraying pesticides during harvesting period; hence no waiting period was observed. Only 21% of the farmers adopted a waiting period of 1 week before harvesting, on the average, which is still not enough considering the types of pesticides used. The study concluded that cabbage farmers misused pesticides, in terms of the type used and the quantities applied. In addition, consumers were exposed to high pesticide residue levels due to the limited or non-existent waiting period before cabbage heads were harvested (least-safe harvesting time).