Insecticide Use Practices in Cocoa Production in Four Regions in Ghana
Chemical control of insect pests of cocoa started in 1950, and insecticides from the various classes have been recommended and used by farmers since then. Presently, Imidacloprid (Confidor®), Bifenthrin (Akatemaster®) and Thiamethoxam (Actara®) are recommended by Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for insect pest management. A survey was conducted in the Ashanti, Eastern, Volta and Western regions of Ghana using questionnaires and farm visits of 147 cocoa farmers’ fields to gather information on insecticide use practices by farmers. The survey showed that the farmers used mostly Imidacloprid and Bifenthrin insecticides and the frequency of application was more than that recommended by COCOBOD. Among the three recommended insecticides, 43% each of the farmers across the three regions used either Confidor® or Akatemaster® whilst the remaining 14% used Actara®. The number of years farmers had consistently used a particular insecticide ranged between 5 and 16 years. Whilst some cocoa farmers do not apply insecticides to their farms, others, however, do as many as 11 applications in a year. Most of the insecticides used are classified as class II under WHO Hazard category, and the farmers used very minimal protective clothing during pesticides application. The results of this study show that there is the need to intensify education on safe handling and use of pesticides to reduce pesticide abuse, especially by cocoa farmers, in order to sustain effective management of pests and protect farmers, consumers and the environment.