Assessment of pesticides residue levels in Cocoa Beans from the Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western Region of Ghana

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Cocoa is the most important agricultural export crop in Ghana, and the country has an enviable reputation of producing high quality cocoa. The nymphs, adults of mirid species and the stink bugs are important insect pests of cocoa. The main method of their control is by the application of conventional insecticides. Consumer awareness on food safety and environmental concerns raise major issues on chemical pest control in cocoa. The research study aimed to determine the residue levels of pesticides and its effect on cocoa beans quality in the Sefwi Wiawso District. A multi-stage sampling procedure which included purposive and simple random sampling techniques was employed. The findings of the research study included the following: Insect pests and diseases particularly capsids, mirids and black pod disease were mentioned by the respondents as a major production constraint. Majority (98.8 %) of the farmers used chemicals to control pests on their cocoa farms and was knowledgeable about the dos and don’ts with pesticide usage. About 10.0 % of them reported to have been combining different pesticides and higher doses of approved pesticides for spraying with the aim to boost efficacy. The pesticide residue analysis revealed that permethrin, a synthetic pyrethriod, which is unapproved to be used on cocoa, had a concentration of 0.07 mg/kg which exceeded Japan MRL of 0.05 mg/kg in bulked sample from all the selected communities in the district. No pesticides residue was detected in the roasted cocoa samples. A chi square test value at 5 % showed that there was a significant (p=.011) relationship between the farmers’ pesticide usage patterns and the pesticide residue levels in cocoa bean samples from the Sefwi Wiawso cocoa district. The need for increased efficiency of the CODAPEC programme, education and train ing, and more governmental support in terms of incentives are recommended
A thesis submitted to the School of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Masters of Philosophy (Mphil Postharvest Technology).