armyworms
armyworms

Government of Ghana has put in place far reaching measures to manage any incidence of Fall Army Worm invasion which had cost the country significant loss of food crops last year, an official asserted here on Monday.

Ebenezer Aboagye, Deputy Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), said this in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a day’s roundtable discussion on government’s flagship program Planting For Food and Jobs (PFFJ).

According to him, the country was adopting a two-pronged approach in combating the insects which destroyed 14,000 hectares of maize farms in Ghana last year.

Aboagye explained that one strategy was to use predatory insects which feed on Fall Army Worms to combat the army worms. In line with this, the official said there was already a scouting process underway in the country to source for these ‘natural enemies’ of army worms locally which could feed on the invaders.

But if the scouting fails to yield positive results, Aboagye said “we are not able to get the natural enemies then we have to import some of them; increase the population, release them into the field to feed on the fall army worms.”

The natural predators of the army worms according to the official will be used in an integrated manner where some will feed on the eggs while others lay eggs inside the eggs of the fall army worm so that the larvae inside the egg will eat the egg of the fall army worm to prevent them from hatching.

“Last year it was a shock to us and this year we are expecting more. The population will increase but because of the measures we have put in place even though they will increase we will be able to manage it,” he assured.

Farmers and Extension Officers have been educated, and have been trained and insecticides procured and being distributed to all the regions and all the districts, said the deputy director, adding “So once they are being distributed; and once there is any outbreak at least they will be able to manage it.”

After spending 15 million Ghana Cedis (3.28 million U.S. Dollars) to combat the invading insects last year, the country still lost 28,560 tons of maize in addition to other crops.

“Politicians should be candid with us to tell us the truth, so I am satisfied that they admitted that the worm has come to stay. In going forward, if you agree that there is a problem it means you can prescribe solution,” Charles Nyaaba Projects Coordinator for Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) told Xinhua.

He urged the plant protection and regulatory services directorate to increase efforts at finding solutions to the army worm invasion while government also increases investment for the emergency and put up a research team to quickly investigate and find solution to them. Enditem

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