Spraying of Pirimiphos-METHYL chemical for malaria control in Upper West Region of Ghana under the sponsorship of Global Fund and implemented by AGAMAL Malaria control Ltd /AngloGold Ashanti is reported to be contaminating Shea butter and Groundnuts affecting health of residents,livestock and the local economy.
Traces of harmful chemical residues of Pirimiphos-METHYL have been found in Shea Butter and groundnuts making it unwholesome for human use and consumption.The contamination incident is reported to have led to loss of about Gh5,000 ,000 equivalent to 1,250,000 US dollars to farmers and exporters due to rejection of their products .The locals claim,several livestock have died after eating the poisoned groundnuts.
Pirimiphos-methyl ,according to scientist can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans; that is, it can overstimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at very high exposures causes respiratory paralysis and death.
IDEAL Providence Farms and GULI Tihitaribu Women Co-Operative Shea butter Processing Association and Women Association of Kperisi,all members of the Ecological Organic Agricultural Platform of Ghana,a Shea butter and groundnut exporting group located in Upper West region Ghana ,have petitioned Government of Ghana raising alarm over the contamination.
The concern groups stated in the petition that “for sometime now these companies have recorded high level of contamination of Pirimiphos-METHYL in their Shea butter products exported.Investigation into the situation traces the sources of the contamination to the residual effect of spraying of pirimiphos-METHYL in the locality as part the malaria control program of Global Fund,implemented by AGAMAl Malaria Control Ltd/AngloGold Ashanti”.
According to the petitioners, a meeting with the Company embarking on the malaria spraying exercise to finding solution to the contamination incident by halting operations as a short term measure did not materialized .The petitioners say,the company is reluctant to stop the spraying exercise citing breach of contract with their sponsors. The groups alleges,the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana and Ghana standard Authority did not sanctioned the use of the Pirimiphos-METHYL.
The petitioners want urgent intervention by government to address the situation.