Palmwine Could Be Poisonous

Dr Kwame Aidoo, Deputy Director, International Stingless Bee Centre, University of Cape Coast, has said palm wine tappers were using harmful insecticides to control organisms that cause rot at the incision point of the palm trunk making the wine poisonous. He said the practice contaminated the wine and made it unsafe for human consumption. Dr. Aidoo said this at two-day “Global Pollination Project” training for journalists at Somanya. It was on the theme, “management of pollinators for sustainable agriculture through an ecosystem approach.” Dr Aidoo, who is also the Mankessim “STEP Site” Manager of the Global Pollination Project-Ghana, said a study found traces of harmful chemicals in palm wine and those chemicals could kill foraging honeybees and had health implications for people who consume the wine. He described the situation as unfortunate and attributed it to laziness because the tappers preferred easier way to the traditional method of using fire to keep the palm trunk dry. Dr. Aidoo also said palm wine tappers left their fermentation vats uncovered and trap pollinators such as bees and this must be stopped. He said the production of food to feed the ever growing world population was dependent on pollinators and cautioned farmers against the “wrong” use of pesticides which also destroyed pollinators. Professor Peter Kwapong, Global Pollination Project-Ghana Coordinator, said the country’s environment could improve if pollinators were conserved. Dr. Rofela Combey, Department of Entomology and Wildlife, University of Cape Coast, said bees contributed over 60 per cent to world’s cultivated crops making them a major stakeholder in ensuring that crops were fertilized to ensure food security and called for their conservation. Ghana is part of seven countries participating in the Global Pollination Project, aimed at improving food security, nutrition and livelihoods through enhanced conservation and sustainable use of pollinators. The project, which began in 2009, is being funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), UNEP and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The Ghana project has cocoa, mango and vegetable sites at Bobiri-Kubeasi in the Ashanti Region, Dodowa/Somanya in the Eastern Region and Mankessim in the Central Region.