Some farmers in the country have expressed optimism about the potentials of government’s Planting for Food and Jobs Policy to revive the ailing agriculture sector, despite reported threats of armyworms in some parts of the country.
The farmers have equally expressed satisfaction at the response of the Ministry and efforts being put in place by the Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to combat the outbreak.
The Fall Armyworms have, for the past few weeks, hit certain parts of the country, particularly the Ashanti, Brong and the Eastern Regions, causing destructions to crops especially Maize and Cocoa. Affected farmers have been counting their losses following reports that about 1,500 acres of maize farms being destroyed.
However, some farmers have expressed hope that despite the threats posed by the invasion of the pests, they were still optimistic about better yields, thanks to the government’s intervention program dubbed “Planting for Food and Jobs”.
Government has rolled out a nationwide free spraying exercise to combat the infestation and also support farmers with inputs to compensate for their losses.
The farmers, who interacted with the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, during a tour to some farms at Ayensuano and Suhum Coaltar Districts in the Eastern Region, commended government for its efforts at combating the disease.
They, however, called for more efforts and interventions from the ministry to further consolidate the gains. According to them, they have benefitted tremendously from the program, particularly in the area of extension services and the improved seeds, with some declaring their intentions to expand their acreages as a result of the program.
The visit was to afford the minister the opportunity to acquaint himself with the nature of the infestation and to also monitor the progress of work as far as the fight against the spread was concerned.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie stated in an interaction with the farmers that government was very much concerned about the outbreak since it has the tendency to derail efforts at revamping the agric sector.
He said it was for this reason that the Ministry was doing everything possible to arrest the situation and to prevent the infestation from further spread.
Some of the places visited by the Minister and his entourage (such as members of the Technical Team from the Ministry) were; Otoase, Boatengkrom and Kraboa Coaltar.
The Minister, also seized the opportunity to inspect some of the farming inputs such as fertilizers and improved seeds dispatched to the districts as part of the Planting for food and jobs campaign.