In March this year, news broke out that armyworms had invaded farm lands in three regions of the country, namely; Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Western.
Since then, the deadly worms have destroyed food crops such as maize, cowpea and cocoa farms, causing farmers in the affected regions to lament over their financial and yield losses.
The sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie, alarmed by the situation, tasked Parliament to declare a ‘state of emergency’ over the invasion of the insects, which threatens the government’s US$133 million farming project.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie fired a memo to Cabinet, asking Parliament to allow unbudgeted funds for a mass spraying exercise, with the view of combating the armyworms.
The Chronicle is happy that the government is putting in place the necessary measures to combat the invading insects, because their continuous presence on Ghanaian farms will exterminate its decision to promote its farming project currently underway.
So far, information available to this paper indicates that the pests have destroyed more than 1,370 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa farms in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Western regions.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, in 2016, when these insects invaded the country, they destroyed 4,500 hectares of farmlands, leaving many farmers in abject poverty.
It is, therefore, imperative that the government does everything in its power to ensure that a solution is found to the problem, as soon as possible.
The government, The Chronicle is informed, has distributed agro-chemicals to various farms in the southern part of Ghana, to help fight the armyworms.
The distribution of the chemicals, which is being done free of charge, is being coordinated by a national taskforce for the control and management of the invasion.
One can understand why the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led administration is very determined to combat the invading insects.
Recently, the government launched an agric project dubbed; ‘Planting for Foods and Jobs Programme’, which is meant to boost Ghana’s food production, and create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.
The government has vowed to modernise the agricultural sector of the economy, by introducing mechanised farming, as well as encourage the youth to develop an interest in the sector.
To contain the menace, The Chronicle urges the government to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the chemicals are sent to the right people who need it, rather than looking at the faces of people before giving them out.
On the other hand, the government must task agricultural directors in all the affected regions to send situation reports, which will inform it on how to service the farmers.
The directors in charge of the affected regions and districts should put in place spraying gangs, which would be responsible for the spraying of the chemicals in the various communities.
What a lot of people don’t know is the fact that armyworms have the capacity to level farms to the ground, hence the need for urgent action to avert the looming crisis.
It is worthy to note that it is not only in Ghana that the insects have invaded farmlands, but countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia are also feeling the pinch.
Since the chemicals can be used to deal with the insects in its early stages, The Chronicle is urging the government to address the issue now, before majority of the pests develop the resistance to fight it.
It is important that we come together as a nation to fight against the marauding pests, which are determined to destroy our arable farmlands; we must destroy them before they annihilate us!