More than 1,350 hectares of maize farms in the Central Region have been destroyed by army worms.

Mr Gershon Wodzrah, Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) disclosed this at the Regional Co-coordinating Council meeting with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and Heads of Department in Cape Coast on Tuesday.

He said 19 districts in the Region have reported cases of the army worms’ invasion.

Mr Wodrah said the worms lay eggs on the leaves and hutches tiny caterpillars within three days to launch massive onslaught on food crops, flowers and stalk thereby impeding their growth.

They feed on several varieties of crops including staple foods, maize, cotton, soyabeans, potatoes and cash crops like cocoa.

“What is more challenging is that the worms feed at night,” he added.

Mr Wodrah described the army worms’ invasion as an “epidemic” which could be a threat to food security and the government’s ‘Planting for food and job’ initiative.

He said more than 3,480 farmers made up of 2,985 males and 550 females in the Region have registered to benefit from the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ Programme.

The programme is aimed at generating more wealth in the agricultural sector, improve livelihood of farmers and fisher folks and help grow the national economy through agriculture.

Mr Wodrah said MOFA had procured chemicals for intensive and sustained spraying exercise to the affected farms to hedge the farms against further devastation by the worms.

He announced that the spraying exercise would be carried out under the technical advice of MOFA and called on the district assemblies to support the exercise.

GNA