Army Worm infestation: Agric Ministry calls for intensive Education in Ghana

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The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has called on the media to sensitize the public on the outbreak of the Fall Army Worms (FAW) which has caused massive destruction to farms across the country.
The outbreak was first reported in April, 2016  in the Yilo Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region and has since spread to almost every region the country.
At a press briefing, the Director of PPRSA at MoFA, Dr. Felicia Ansah-Amprofi, said the army worm would be difficult to eradicate but can be controlled.
“The fall army worm has come to stay and has become a regional problem as well, and therefore needs a holistic approach to reduce the diverse effects,” she stated.
She said due to the anxiety caused by the infestation in maize producing communities and the effect on food security, a constituted disciplinary task force, Developmental partners and other agencies has taken an initiative to implement strategies to curb the menace.
Also, the Director stressed that government has approved and released funds for operations and procurement of insecticides for the management of the pest.
“The government of Ghana in response approved and released funds for the operations and procurement of insecticides for the management of the pest,” the director added.
Dr. Ansah-Amprofi said, a total of 122,297 litres and 7,628 kilos of insecticides were procured and distributed among affected farmers across the country, adding that “also, a total of 249,054 acres of maize farms size were affected and sprayed.
“Out of that, 234,807 acres representing 94.3 per cent were recovered and 14,247 acres representing 5.7 per cent of maize farm were completely destroyed,” she stated.
The ministry, according to her, set up warning systems in 2017 using pheromone traps to monitor the presence of FAW in all the regions of Ghana.
“The pheromone trap catches in the 57 locations indicated the presence of the pest and possible resurgence in the 2018 farming season,” Dr. Ansah-Amprofi disclosed.
She again disclosed that, presently, the nation is experiencing pockets of FAW infestations on maize in some districts in the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Eastern and Volta regions.
“The infestation have been blown out of proportion, what we now experiencing is the pre- season production infestation,” she claimed.
The ministry is therefore embarking on an exercise to engage professionals to address the issues directly on the farms during the major farming season this year.
Also, the ministry is preparing towards encouraging farmers to carry out regular field monitoring, checking of crop leaves for signs and symptoms of any infestation and duly inform extension officers.
The ministry is therefore calling on the media to collaborate with it so as to help educate farmers on how to properly manage the FAW.
“Media coverage and discussions should rather be geared towards improving the knowledge and skills of our farmers,” she advised.
She said the ministry has taken measures to curb the pest in the long and short-term including training of staffs and farmers in the communities, training of media personnel on effective reporting on FAW infestation, among others.
Source: Nii Aflah Sackey

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